The somewhat recent drop in gas prices, and the resulting increases in purchases of SUVs and other fuel-swigging vehicles, may have spurred this change, as both automakers and politicos are questioning whether Americans will change their car-buying habits enough to hit those 2025 numbers. The CAFE standard of 54.5 miles per gallon in fleetwide fuel economy (which is about 40 mpg in “real world” figures) was set in 2012, and would represent a more-than-50-percent jump from the current average of about 25 mpg. Lower-than-expected sales of plug-in vehicles haven’t helped either and are leveling off fuel-economy figures. Last month, new-car average fuel economy fell to 25.2 mpg from 25.4 mpg in January, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).
So far, about one in 30 new vehicles meet those CAFE standards, the Detroit News says, citing the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers’ Chris Nevers, so there will need to be a lot of adjustments made by both automakers and buyers during the next few years.