Federal Fuel Economy Standards To Rise

President Obama has announced new requirements for increasing fuel economy, reaching a standard of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. CAFE, or corporate average fuel economy, is a sales-based average of a manufacturer's vehicle fleet for a given model year. The federal government sets the CAFE standards that manufacturers must meet under the Energy Policy Conservation Act, passed in 1975 in the wake of the Arab oil embargo.


Federal CAFE standards, in miles per gallon

[Graph: Federal fuel economy standards have risen from 18 mpg in 1978 to 30.2 mpg in 2011 for passenger cars, and from 17.5 mpg in 1982 to 24.1 mpg for light trucks]

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Credits: Robert Benincasa, Nelson Hsu and Alyson Hurt / NPR

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