EPA publishes final CAFE rule

Source: Eugene Mulero, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012

U.S. EPA filed its final regulation in today’s Federal Register for fuel efficiency standards set to kick in 2017 for passenger vehicles

The landmark rule aims to double the corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, of light-model vehicles, in turn saving car owners money on fuel costs. The nearly 2,000-page filing says the new CAFE levels will require cars built in 2025 to get at least 54.5 mpg.

Critics argue the rules would force automakers to make expensive cars that could probably reduce safety. “While the Obama administration has made the 2009 auto bailout one of the centerpieces of their re-election campaign, the reality is that these new rules will affect and cost consumers more money,” the conservative Americans for Tax Reform said today.

Proponents counter by saying the new standards can be accomplished safely and fuel savings quickly offset any extra vehicle costs. The market, they note, is already offering cars that comply with early parts of the rule. They say the fuel-efficient vehicles have garnered a broad appeal in the face of rising gasoline prices.

The CAFE rule could pressure lawmakers to pass measures that would authorize new long-term road and transit initiatives. However, few expect transportation concerns to be a priority during the upcoming lame-duck session