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".

Commentary

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 stated that the full-size car market can’t be ignored because it is accounting for 30 percent of domestic auto sales for the model year. Chrysler does not intend to, and would not, abandon a market segment of that size and importance to automotive buyers.

-
.K. Brown, Vice President of Chrysler Group, Chicago Tribune.

I would hope we would never get into a position that we’d have to tell our customers they can’t buy certain cars because of the mileage requirements.

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Richard Terrell, Vice Chairman of GM, Chicago Tribune.

If we sell too many big cars, we’ll have to stop building them. Then we’ll have to ram small cars down consumers’ throats and use dealer incentives to get rid of them so that we can build big cars again. The public is going to rebel because these hard-to-get big cars will then sell for full list or higher when the small cars are being given away.

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Sid Terry, VP of Public Responsibility and Consumer Affairs for Chrysler, 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.

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

Evidence

Backgrounders & Briefs

The Success of CAFE Standards

How the CAFE standard and its successes.