Energy Policy Conservation Act (CAFE standards)

Energy Policy Conservation Act (CAFE standards)

The “Energy Policy Conservation Act,” enacted into law by Congress in 1975, added Title V, “Improving Automotive Efficiency,” to the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act and established CAFE standards for passenger cars and light trucks. The Act was passed in response to the 1973-74 oil embargo. The near-term goal was to double new car fuel economy by model year 1985.

“Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) is the sales weighted average fuel economy, expressed in miles per gallon (mpg), of a manufacturer’s fleet of passenger cars or light trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 lbs. or less, manufactured for sale in the United States, for any given model year. Fuel economy is defined as the average mileage traveled by an automobile per gallon of gasoline (or equivalent amount of other fuel) consumed as measured in accordance with the testing and evaluation protocol set by the Environmental Protection Agency".


smokestack and dirty air

Crying Wolf Again: Big Business Gearing up for a Fight Against Obama’s Environmental Program

May 11, 2009

Cry Wolf Quotes

We have consistently opposed mandatory fuel economy standards as unnecessary. Because it is clearly in our self interest to meet customer requirements on fuel economy improvements, as demonstrated by our own high mileage m.p.g. small cars recently announced.

Rodney Markley Jr., VP of Washington Staff for Ford, Chicago Tribune

We might have to take drastic action such as limiting production.

Phil Benton, VP of Sales and Marketing for Ford, Chicago Tribune.

If we sell too many big cars in any quarter in 1978, we’ll have to hold back our product mix and we’ll have to ration or allocate cars. The law is final now, but if enough people complain when they can’t get a big car, maybe the government will revise its legislation. To meet 27.5 m.p.g. by ’85, the average weight of cars will have to be about 3,200 pounds versus 4,000 pounds now. That means every car would be a compact, subcompact, or smaller. The new law implies that we must get better fuel economy between 1980 and 1985 then between 1978 and 1980. That’s unlikely.

Charles Heinen, Director of Emissions and Fuel Economy Certification for Chrysler, Chicago Tribune.

In effect, this bill would outlaw a number of engine lines and car models including most fullsize sedans and station wagons. It would restrict the industry to producing subcompact-size cars — or even smaller ones — within 5 years . . .

Alan Loofburrow, vice president of engineering at Chrysler Corp., Senate Commerce Committee


Backgrounders & Briefs

The Success of CAFE Standards

How the CAFE standard and its successes.