National Consumers League

Average MPGs on the rise


By Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director
A recent USA Today article brought great news: by 2016, fuel efficiency of our gas-operated vehicles will be required to meet strict new standards. The average by 2025 will be 54.5 mpg! That’s nearly double today’s average of 29.7 mpg and will mean less air pollution and less consumption of oil. In the 1980s and 90s while working for Consumers Union, we joined the environmental groups in lobbying vigorously for stronger “CAFÉ” standards (Corporate Average Fuel Economy.)  The industry – and the United Auto Workers – argued they couldn’t improve fuel efficiency significantly and fought our efforts. We always believed that American engineering smarts and knowhow could meet the design challenges of making a far more fuel-efficient vehicle. With the advent of hybrid technology, and with battery design and power improving each year, automakers now have the confidence they can meet this CAFÉ goal of 54.5 by 2025. USA Today even quotes UAW president Bob King, who said “these new standards will help propel the auto industry forward by giving American families long term relief from volatile oil process, Lower the total cost of driving will make automobiles more affordable and expand the market for new vehicles.” This is great for the economy, for the auto industry and for consumer’s pocketbook and a long time coming.