Federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rules are working to improve passenger vehicle fuel economy and this is good for everybody.
That about sums findings today by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) which said 15 of the 16 major auto companies selling in the U.S. met or exceeded their 2015 fuel economy performance, and overall, Americans have more fuel-efficient choices than ever.
“And since the announcement of higher standards,” said the CFA of the picture of compliance with CAFE rules, “many car companies have increased the percentage of their vehicles with higher fuel efficiency, providing strong evidence that automakers can meet the current standards agreed to in 2012.”
The Washington-based watchdog group said this in conjunction with releasing survey results, a report on how automakers are doing, along with advocating the position that automakers should not try to wiggle out of federal fuel economy targets yet subject to review for 2022-2025.
In turn, it was a positive report for new car shoppers.
“Fuel efficiency increasingly comes standard with new cars, trucks, and SUVs” said Jack Gillis, director of public affairs for CFA and author of The Car Book. “Even if you’re in the market for a large pickup or SUV, you’d have to go out of your way to find a true gas guzzler.”
This year is the third model year in a row, said the CFA, that over half of all passenger cars and trucks for sale in the U.S. meet or beat the national standards.
However, there are some relative winners and losers with regards to how they are complying with current CAFE and related emissions standards.
And, there are some twists. Like what does non-EV making Mazda have in common with Tesla?
Answer: Mazda is the first automaker other than Tesla, says the CFA, to achieve 100-percent compliance with federal fleet mpg targets – up from 75 percent last year.
The Japanese automaker is helped by not having its product assortment sprinkled with gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks like other larger automakers do, whereas Tesla makes the grade the good new fashioned way – by avoiding gas completely.
As it is, the CFA divvied up the numbers some more to find another odd match-up where the country’s dominant seller of hybrids – Toyota – has something in common with the country’s second-worst-scoring automaker altogether.
What’s that? Neither Toyota nor FCA recorded very significant improvements in their fleet mpg average from 2015 top 2016.
Last year Toyota’s fleet was 34-percent in compliance, and for 2016 it’s up 1 percent to 35 percent compliant. By contrast, Fiat-Chrysler was 17 percent compliance and actually got a little better to 21 percent compliant in 2016.
Automakers’ fleets of new vehicles on offer are measured by the federal government by “footprint.” That is, fuel economy targets for smaller cars are higher than those of larger SUVs and pickups.
And, among these vehicles in any automaker’s fleets, not all meet a given year’s target for its class.
Instead, observes the CFA, automakers sell vehicles above and below a given year’s standards.
The CAFE standards automakers agreed to in 2012 however have improve the fleet average mpg, as intended, and the CFA said today this is proof the standards set are valid and reasonable.
“Indeed, the fact that the number of cars achieving more than 23 mpg has risen by 43 percent in the last 10 years is strong evidence that reaching a goal of 40 mpg by 2025 is attainable,” said the advocacy in a statement.
Over 30 MPG Club
Thanks in no small part to extremely efficient electrified vehicles and “all-new” models sprinkled into product assortments, the percentage of vehicles now exceeding 30 mpg combined is at an all time high.
In all, automakers reported 19 “all-new” vehicles for 2016 which at least met the 2016 CAFE standard.
The CFA said the percentage of “all-new” cars that were 2016 CAFE-compliant increased to 80 percent in 2016 from 42 percent in 2015.
However, the percentage of CAFE-compliant light trucks and SUVs stayed the same at 40 percent.
“We already have immensely popular cars and trucks that meet and beat the standards 13 out of the 14 major world-wide auto companies agreed to in 2012,” Gillis said. “So it’s hard to see any reason to slow down on fuel economy, especially given how