|US CAFE standards for Cars and Light Trucks, with projections based on the goal articulated in the State of the Union Address. Click to enlarge.|
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has requested product plan information through Model Year (MY) 2017 from automakers and truckmakers in anticipation of obtaining statutory authority to reform the passenger car Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program and to set standards under that structure for MY 2010 – 2017 passenger cars.
The agency is also seeking this information in anticipation of setting standards for MY 2012-2017 light trucks.
The requested information, according to NHTSA, will help it to assess in greater detail the potential levels of future standards under a reformed structure and the impact of those standards on gasoline consumption, manufacturers, consumers, the economy, and motor vehicle safety.
In his State of the Union 2007 address in January, President Bush called for increasing and reforming corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for passenger cars and further increasing the already reformed light truck standards to result in a 5% reduction in projected gasoline consumption. Meeting that goal would work out to CAFE increases of about 4% per year, beginning in Model Year 2010 for cars and Model Year 2012 for light trucks. (Earlier post.)
The US House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing last week to begin reviewing the administrations’s plans for transportation.
A 13 Dec 2006 administration summary of fuel economy proposals obtained by the Detroit News calculated that meeting the 4% plan would cost the auto industry $100 billion—the bulk of that shouldered by the Detroit Big 3—between 2010 and 2017. The summary also showed that new standards would raise the price of light trucks by $1,900 and cars by $1,400 by 2017.
In 2006, the government implemented the first complete reform of the CAFE program for pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles and minivans since the program’s inception in 1979.
Reformed CAFE has two basic elements: a vehicle footprint-based determination of fuel economy levels and a per-manufacturer standard based on each manufacturer’s production-weighted harmonic average of the fuel economy targets for footprint value. In other words, by 2011, each automaker will have its own fuel economy standard based on its own product mix. (Earlier post.) A reformed CAFE for automobiles would likely take a similar approach.