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(Redirected from CAFE)

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) are regulations in the United States, first enacted by US Congress in 1975,<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> and intended to improve the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks (trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles) sold in the US in the wake of the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo. Historically, it is the sales-weighted harmonic mean fuel economy, expressed in miles per gallon (mpg), of a manufacturer's fleet of current model year passenger cars or light trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 pounds (3,856 kg) or less, manufactured for sale in the US.

This system would have changed with the introduction of "Footprint" regulations for light trucks binding in 2011, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals returned that rule for reconsideration for, among other things, being "arbitrary and capricious".<ref name="ninthcourt">Template:Cite court</ref> The most recent revision of CAFE that passed in 2007 no longer exempts light trucks classified as SUVs or passenger vans, unless they exceed 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) GVWR; it applies to pickup trucks and cargo vans up to 8,500 lb (3,900 kg) – as was the case for SUVs. In 1999, over half a million vehicles exceeded the GVWR and so the CAFE standard did not apply.<ref name="cafe-overview">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> In 2011, the standard will change to include many larger vehicles.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> The US and Canada have the weakest standards in terms of fleet-average fuel economy rating among first world nations, e.g. 25 mpg in the US, versus 45 mpg in the European Union and higher in Japan (2008).<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> However, the US and Canada have the toughest emissions requirements (in terms of parts per million of pollutants). Some higher-mileage vehicles in Europe would not meet US (and California) emissions standards.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulates CAFE standards and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) measures vehicle fuel efficiency. US Congress specifies that CAFE standards must be set at the "maximum feasible level" given consideration for:

1. technological feasibility;
2. economic practicality;
3. effect of other standards on fuel economy;
4. need of the nation to conserve energy.

Historically, the EPA has encouraged consumers to buy more fuel efficient vehicles, while the NHTSA expressed concerns that smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles may lead to increased traffic fatalities.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> Thus higher fuel efficiency was associated with lower traffic safety, intertwining the issues of fuel economy, road-traffic safety, air pollution, and climate change. In the mid 2000s, increasing safety of smaller cars and the poor safety record of light trucks began to reverse this association.<ref>{{#if:Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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## Future

The CAFE rules for trucks were officially amended at the end of March 2006. However, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned the rules, returning them to NHTSA, stating that the rules must be made stricter. These changes would have segmented truck fleets by vehicle size and class as of 2011. All SUVs and passenger vans up to 10,000 pounds GVWR<ref>{{#if:National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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}}.</ref> would have had to comply with CAFE standards regardless of size, but pickup trucks and cargo vans over 8500 pounds gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) would have remained exempt.

Under the new final light truck CAFE standard 2008-2011, fuel economy standards would have been restructured so that they are based on a measure of vehicle size called "footprint," the product of multiplying a vehicle's wheelbase by its track width. A target level of fuel economy would have been established for each increment in footprint using a continuous mathematical formula. Smaller footprint light trucks had higher fuel economy targets and larger trucks lower targets. Manufacturers who made more large trucks would have been allowed to meet a lower overall CAFE target, manufacturers who make more small trucks would have needed to meet a higher standard. Unlike previous CAFE standards there was no requirement for a manufacturer or the industry as a whole to meet any particular overall actual MPG target, since that will depend on the mix of sizes of trucks manufactured and ultimately purchased by consumers. Some critics pointed out that this might have had the unintended consequence of pushing manufacturers to make ever-larger vehicles to avoid strict economy standards.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> However, the equation used to calculate the fuel economy target had a built in mechanism that provides an incentive to reduce vehicle size to about 52 square feet (the approximate midpoint of the current light truck fleet.)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found these new Light Truck rules to be arbitrary and capricious; contrary to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act; incorrectly set a value of zero dollars to the global warming damage caused by truck emissions; failed to set a "backstop" to prevent trucks from emitting more CO2 than in previous years; failed to set standards for vehicles in the 8,500 to 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) range; that the environmental impact assessment was inadequate, and that the rules may have had significant negative impact on the environment. The court directed NHTSA to prepare a new standard as quickly as possible and to fully evaluate that new standard's impact on the environment.<ref name="ninthcourt" />

In addition to the new light truck rules of 2006 and the Ninth Court decision, in December 2007 Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 which will affect CAFE standards of both cars and trucks and additionally work trucks and medium and heavy duty on-highway vehicles. This standard requires ratable increases in fuel efficiency during the model years 2011 to 2020 reaching 35 mpg in 2020 for the total fleet of passenger and non-passenger automobiles. In the years 2021 to 2030 the standards requires MPG to be the "maximum feasible" fuel economy. The law allows NHTSA to issue additional requirements for cars and trucks based on the "Footprint" model or other mathematical standard. Additionally each manufacturer must meet a minimum standard of the higher of either 27.5 mpg for passenger automobiles or 92% of the projected average for all manufacturers. NHTSA is directed based on National Academy of Sciences studies to set medium and heavy-duty truck MPG standards to the "maximum feasible". Additionally the law phases out the mpg credit previously granted to Flex-Fuel (ethanol) vehicle manufacturers and adds in one for biodiesel, and it adds a requirement that NHTSA publish replacement tire fuel efficiency ratings. The bill also adds support for initial state and local infrastructure for plug-in electric vehicles. How the Ninth Court decision will be reconciled to this new law remains undecided, but if the court issue is resolved and the new law goes into effect and if actual achieved combined corporate CAFE remains at 26.7 mpg until then, then average fleet-wide new vehicle mpg would increase by 0.8 mpg a year starting in 2011.

### Other arguments in favor

Other conservative groups support higher gas mileage on the basis of national security,<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> or on the basis of stewardship of the Earth.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>