Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards were first enacted in by Congress in 1975, following the Arab Oil Embargo, as a way to improve the average fuel economy of the cars and light trucks — including trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles — that are sold in the United States. In recent years, the Obama Administration, through the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, has focused heavily on the CAFE standards, this time in order to decrease the U.S. reliance on foreign oil sources as well as to cut pollution.
The CAFE Standards 2014 state that a manufacturer’s annual fleet of vehicle production must meet the defined miles per gallon standard, which is increasing incrementally from year to year. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, the standard is 35.2 mpg for passenger cars, 26.2 mpg for light trucks, and 31.4 mpg for combined cars and trucks. If the manufacturer fails to meet the standard as figured from the average mileage of the various vehicles they offer in the U.S., they will pay a penalty. The penalty is currently set at $5.50 USD per 0.1 mpg under the standard, multiplied by the manufacturer’s total production for the U.S. domestic market. A Gas Guzzler Tax is also assessed on individual passenger car models that get less than 22.5 miles per gallon. New standards are also being formu lated this year for medium- to heavy-duty trucks.
The weight of a vehicle certainly impacts its fuel efficiency, and that’s where tube hydroformers fit into the solution for increasing the miles per gallon on cars and trucks. High performance and race cars have relied on long tubular frame construction for quite some time because it is stronger and lighter than traditional stamped and welded assemblies. Now that knowledge is being applied to passenger vehicles and light trucks in order to effect improvements and meet the standards.
For more information about the CAFE standards 2014 and future years, or about our services for the automotive industry, contact us.