The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has to be the only government agency ever to deliver on something early. They had until April 2018 to come up with fuel economy standards for vehicles leading up to 2025 but delivered their goal on Friday 13th 2017.
The fuel economy standard uses the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), set into law in the U.S. in 2012. As what happens down south has an impact on what happens up here in Canada, these changes affect us too.
The original CAFE goal was to achieve 54.5 mpg by 2025. This wasn’t that unreasonable given that many diesel powered and smaller engined cars can already get more than that. However, given the huge rise in truck and SUV sales, it would have been harder to achieve. So the EPA has lowered the target to 50-52.6 mpg instead. While not a huge concession to our love of the big engine, it is a concession.
What happens now?
This move was a last hurrah for the outgoing Obama administration. While it is something backed by many areas of the public, the automotive industry is obviously not in favour of it. It forces them to work harder to achieve the goal and not depend on tried and tested engine technology.
As long as the Trump administration doesn’t repeal the changes like they have threatened, the industry will change even more than it has already.
We will see more hybrid options, as this is a great way for automakers to utilize their existing technology while also stretching MPG. It’s a good middle ground. Good for the automaker because they already have the tech and good for the consumer because we understand combustion and can handle a little electricity on the side.
Electric vehicles are gradually gaining popularity. While they look as good as the Tesla and automakers continue to work to increase range, they will gradually gain traction.
Other alternative fuels. Alternative fuelled cars have fallen behind the electric for now. Once touted as a real, practical alternative to electric with better range, it seems many automakers are either not developing such vehicles or are being very quiet about it. Hydrogen is one such technology. Excellent in concept, with a great range and no emissions except water. But, it requires an infrastructure of special refuelling stations which is very costly indeed.
So while the new EPA fuel economy standards have been set, they are not yet set in stone. Much depends on what Trump wants to do and what, if anything, our own government has to say.
In the meantime, Car Nation Canada will continue to sell the widest possible range of vehicles. Visit your nearest location to grab a great deal on a new or certified used car.