The Obamam administration is working on the new fuel efficiency guidelines starting in 2017. By then, the fuel economy average is supposed to be 35.5 mpg under the most recent guidelines adopted by the government over the past couple of years.
From 2017-2025, the discussion has continued on how much more can the US force out of the vehicle manufacturers. Administrative leaks have the goal for automakers being set anywhere from 47 to 62 mpg. That's an annual increase of 3 to 6 percent.
Environmentalist and other interested parties are pushing hard for at least 60 mpg by 2025. They argue the higher goals will force innovation and create new jobs in the automotive industry. The automotive industry says the new rules will cost consumers greatly when they go to buy their new cars.
The new proposals are expected in September, 2011, with the final ruling set in July 2012.
What's remarkable about these proposals is how few cars now meet or exceed these limits. The Prius, for instance is rated at 50 mpg. Although it should be pointed out the CAFE rules being revised are different from the ratings you see on the side of your car. The numbers can be wildly different under the two rating systems. Also, the rules require a fleet-wide average, not on individual cars. Plus, the rules are different based on the type of car being built (cars vs trucks, for instance).
Some groups, like the NRDC, are pushing hard for the higher standards:
"The Obama Administration is on the right path in recognizing the need to use the Clean Air Act to improve emission efficiency standards, but it should pursue the best option possible," Natural Resources Defense Council Transportation Program Director Roland Hwang said. "The problem with setting the bar at just a 3 percent improvement per year is that it puts the U.S. auto industry on a path towards mediocrity. A 6 percent improvement, which translates into a 62 miles-per-gallon fuel efficiency standard, will really encourage innovative ideas, create more jobs, and do more to put the country’s auto industry back in a leadership role. But beyond the jobs and economic benefits, a stronger standard will help break our crippling dependence on oil."