New Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards require automaker fleets to get 54.5 mpg by 2025. As a result, we’ve seen all kinds of changes in the industry: automakers are looking in to hybrid, diesel, plug-in electric, and other types of vehicles to find what might just stick with the public. There’s been an ongoing trend to downsize engines, and new technologies—such as start/stop to avoid inefficient burn-off during idling, and regenerative braking—have been introduced to help meet these demands. But it’s not all Field of Dreams out there. Automakers are building, but not everyone is coming.
The Chevy Volt has finally started to sell, but bless its little electric heart, the Mitsubishi iMiev (now called “i”) just hasn’t caught on. Toyota can’t build the Prius fast enough, but automakers like Audi and BMW are selling crossovers so well, that plans for dramatic expansion of crossover and SUV ranges have been announced. A new study today released by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) says Americans want more fuel economy. The study said almost 9 out of 10 Americans surveyed believe the U.S. should reduce oil consumption, and associated that with the desire for higher fuel economy. Three-quarters of respondents said they believed the new standards are “a good idea.” Remarkably, two-thirds suggested they would support the new CAFE standards, even it meant paying more for their vehicles in the future. But is it easier to support the idea of more efficient cars, expensive cars in theory, than it is in reality? It appears the power is in the hands of the consumer—demand will dictate supply. But for now, 9 out of 10 Americans wanting better fuel economy, is a start.