In the three years since the new CAFE standard for fuel economy has been in effect, automakers have surpassed it each year, improving new-vehicle fuel economy by about a mile per gallon annually, according to an analysis by Brandon Schoettle and Dr. Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).
In 2012, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the final standard governing new-vehicle Corporate Average Fuel Economy for model years 2017-2025. Since then, CAFE performance has exceeded projected levels for 2012, 2013 and 2014—the three years the current standard has been in effect.
|Average monthly and model year fleet-wide achieved CAFE performance levels versus NHTSA projected achieved CAFE levels for model years 2008 through 2016. Source: UMTRI. Click to enlarge.
Achieved CAFE performance topped anticipated levels by 0.2 mpg for model year 2012, 0.1 mpg for model year 2013 and 0.2 mpg for model year 2014.
In addition, CAFE performance has consistently increased annually from model year 2008 through model year 2014, Schoettle and Sivak said. Overall, fuel economy improved by 5.3 mpg over these seven model years, from 25.5 mpg to 30.8 mpg.
The new standard for fuel economy for vehicle model years 2017-2025 continues the current system of incremental increases in CAFE for new light-duty vehicles (cars, vans, SUVs and pickup trucks) for each model year, based on targeted decreases averaging about 5% per year in carbon dioxide output per mile.