U.S. regulators nix 54.5 mpg target for 2025
Stronger than anticipated demand for trucks and SUVs has led U.S. federal regulators to eliminate the 54.5 mpg corporate fuel economy target for 2025.
Car manufacturers in the U.S. are on track to meet the corporate average fuel economy targets for the 2025 model year, a new report said, but the highly publicized fuel economy target of 54.5 mpg appears to be out of reach, as American consumers continue to favour larger size vehicles than was anticipated.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Air Resources Board jointly released a draft Technical Assessment Report (TAR) that examines the 2022-2025 GHG and fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles – cars and light trucks.
According to the analysis in the TAR report, manufacturers are adopting fuel economy technologies at “unprecedented rates” and are on target to meet the 2025 standards. Therefore, the report said, the standards are feasible and there is no need for any adjustments or delay of the regulations.
While emphasizing the progress in engine and vehicle efficiency, the TAR report also revised down the predicted model year 2025 fuel economy target of 54.5 mpg. “This target, included in the 2012 final rule, was calculated based on an assumed split between cars and light trucks of 67/33%,” the report said. “Considering the consumers’ preference for larger vehicles…a more realistic split would be 52/48%, resulting in a 50.8 mpg target in 2025 (and a low-to-high range of 50.0 to 52.6 mpg).”
Vehicle manufacturers have been facing increasing fuel efficiency requirements for their vehicles from a 2011 agreement to lower emissions from vehicles.
The draft TAR report, which will now draw public comment before final approval, also acknowledges that gasoline-powered vehicles will remain the norm rather than battery-electric cars or hybrids. To meet future standards, the report said, manufacturers will need to develop “modest levels of strong hybridization and very low levels of full electrification (plug-in vehicles).”
Instead of achieving fuel efficiency gains though electrification, the report said, automakers will likely reduce emissions with more efficient internal combustion engines that use technologies such as “turbo charging, engine downsizing, more sophisticated transmissions, vehicle weight reduction, aerodynamics, and idle stop-start, along with improved accessories and air conditioning systems.”