CAFE Reality

Corporate Average Fuel Economy Reality

A lot has been said about how great the new efficiency standards set by President Obama are and how much money will be saved and how much fuel won't be used because of them. Rhetoric is one thing, reality is another.

Would it surprise you to know that in 1980 when the average Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) for cars was about 25 miles per gallon, actual on-road economy was about 16 mpg? Or that in 1990, when the average CAFE for cars was 28 mpg, the actual on-road economy for them was only 20 mpg? Even in 2000, the CAFE average for cars was still around 28 mpg, but on-road economy was just 21 mpg. Those are numbers the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA, on-road data) has as compared to the annual reporting of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for CAFE figures. These numbers are just for passenger cars - they get worse with light trucks.

Would you also be surprised to learn that the current standards promoted by President Obama and recently finalized and released, conveniently, during the Republican National Convention in Florida, are actually numbers first proposed and initiated in policy by former President George W. Bush back in 2007? Yes, an evil, oil baron Republican initiated the first, tougher CAFE requirements in over two decades, not the current guy taking credit for it. That might give some recent commentators pause.

Whether it's a Republican or a Democrat (I prefer the terms "Republicrat and Demopublican" myself) that initiates CAFE, though, the fact remains that what is advertised is not really what is being provided. Of course, false advertising is the standard in Washington.


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