Booming sales of pickups, SUVs and other light trucks may be fueling a surge in auto industry profits, but the shift is also creating at least one potentially serious problem, making it more difficult for manufacturers to meet increase tough U.S. fuel economy standards.
That is fueling industry interest in the planned “mid-term review” of upcoming Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards set to reach an average 54.5 mpg by 2025. Scheduled to occur in 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees mileage mandates, could be pressed to roll back the target to reflect shifting market demand – or a lack of the technology needed to get to 54.5 mpg.
“We’re still making great strides in fuel economy,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford President of the Americas, told TheDetroitBureau.com. But that may not be enough to offset shifting market realities, especially with the unexpected collapse of fuel prices, Hinrichs said.