With the Senate approving the energy bill (earlier post), the likelihood of the CAFE provisions in the bill emerging from re-consideration by the House and subsequent signing into law by President Bush seems high.
In addition to setting an attribute-based combined car/light-duty truck new fleet average fuel economy requirement of 35 mpg by 2020 and establishing a credit-trading mechanism, the bill also begins the process of the development of a fuel economy standard for medium- and heavy-duty on-road trucks.
Specific provisions of the language include:
Separate fuel economy standards for passenger automobiles and light-duty trucks beginning in MY 2011, and culminating in a combined average new fleet fuel economy of 35 mpg by 2020. Standards are to be based on one or more vehicle attributes related to fuel economy and expressed in the form of a mathematical function.
New fleet fuel economy for MY 2021-2030 are to be “the maximum feasible”.
Automakers must meet a minimum standard of 27.5 mpg or 92% of the average fuel economy projected for the new fleet in a given model year, whichever is greater.
Requires a study by the National Academy of Sciences on the fuel efficiency of commercial medium- and heavy-duty on-road vehicles to determine appropriate test procedures and methodologies for measuring the fuel efficiency of such vehicles; devise an appropriate metric for measuring and expressing their fuel efficiency performance, with consideration for applications and duty cycles; determine the range of factors that affect on-highway fuel efficiency
Two years after the completion of the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle study, the Department of Transportation is to determine how to implement a medium- and heavy-duty fuel efficiency improvement program, including the adoption of fuel economy standards.
Those new fuel medium- and heavy-duty fuel economy standards must provide at least four full model years of regulatory lead time and 3 full model years of regulatory stability.
A credit trading program among automakers to allows those whose automobiles exceed the average fuel economy standards to sell credits to manufacturers failing to meet the standard. An automaker can also transfer credits between compliance categories within its own fleet. (Compliance categories are: (a) Passenger cars manufactured domestically; (b) Passenger cars not manufactured domestically; and (c) light-duty trucks.) Maximum increases in any compliance category via transferred credits is 1.0 mpg for MY 2011-2013; 1.5 mpg for MY 2014-2017; and 2.0 mpg for MY 2018 and after.
Fuel economy labels on new vehicles will reflect greenhouse gas emissions as well.
A new series of reports from the National Academy of Sciences evaluating vehicle fuel economy standards.
Extension of the flexible fuel vehicle credit program. For each model year through 2019 for each category of automobile, automakers may attribute an increase in average fuel economy for dual-fueled vehicles. The maximum increases are: (a) 1.2 mpg for MY 1993-2014; (b) 1.0 mpg for MY 2015; (c) 0.8 mpg for MY 2016; (d) 0.6 mpg for MY 2017; (e) 0.4 mpg for MY 2018; and (f) 0.2 mpg for MY 2019.
|Gasoline consumption in the US, 1945-2006. Click to enlarge.|
The overall success of the CAFE regulations in reducing fuel consumption will be affected by the growth in the fleet and vehicle miles traveled. Despite the triple hammer during the 1970s of the OPEC oil embargo, the enactment of the original CAFE regulations mandating a 2x improvement in fuel economy over ten years, and the oil supply and price crisis precipitated by the Iranian revolution, gasoline consumption in the US was back up to the pre-OPEC embargo level by 1984, and has mainly climbed steadily since. (See chart at right.)
|Indexed view of fuel economy, fleet consumption, growth of fleet and vehicle miles travelled. Click to enlarge. Source: FHWA Highway Statistics 2005|
That ongoing increase in consumption has been driven by the growth of the fleet, by the increase in vehicle miles traveled (in part augmented by the “rebound effect” of better fuel economy), and by a predilection for manifesting ongoing improvement in technical efficiency in size and performance, rather than fuel economy improvements. (Earlier post.)
(The rebound effect (Jevons or Khazzoum-Brookes postulate) suggests that improvements in energy efficiency can work to increase, rather than decrease energy consumption, as the improvements encourage more use. E.g., better fuel economy encourages more driving.)
|ACEEE estimates of reductions in oil consumption resulting form the new CAFE regulations. Click to enlarge.|
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates that the new light-duty vehicle CAFE standards will result in a reduction in consumption of 1.03 million barrels of oil per day by 2020; 1.86 million barrels per day by 2025; and 2.4 million barrels of oil per day by 2030.