We believe the current standard of 54.5 MPG by 2025 is commendable, but we’re concerned about achieving the target at an affordable cost to consumers while still enabling further reductions in the future. Our solution?
Focus on fuels
“Considering vehicle technology in a vacuum is inadequate … For maximum benefit, the National Program must also consider and address fuels.” Fuel Freedom comments, page 2
Currently, the CAFE standards focus almost exclusively on vehicle technology, meaning progressively more efficient engines and lighter vehicles. There have also been all manner of minor innovations to reduce emissions from vehicles, such as “greener” air conditioning systems. This is all well and good, but no matter how nice the cutlery you use to eat your food is, a Big Mac is not a prime-rib steak. To truly improve the performance of our cars and trucks, we need to focus on the vehicle technology (cutlery) and the quality of the fuel (food). All without forcing automakers and consumers to pay a premium. So what type of fuels should we focus on?
High-octane, low-carbon fuels
“Higher-octane fuels enable existing vehicles equipped with a knock sensor to advance spark timing and improve efficiency, and allow the design of new vehicles with higher compression to further increase engine efficiency and enable additional improvements with additive technologies such as downsizing and hybridization.” Fuel Freedom comments, page 6
High-octane, low-carbon fuels like ethanol are a win-win. Not only do they have the benefit of increased efficiency and power due to their high octane rating (we explain what octane is here), but they also contain and emit less carbon and harmful pollutants than gasoline. These effects are multiplied if the fuel is run in properly designed engines. Therefore, we believe that CAFE standards that include both fuels and engines are more likely to affordably achieve fuel economy goals and allow consumers to keep buying the cars and trucks they love.
And we’re not alone.
Everyone from automakers like Ford and GM, to environmentally-minded groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists, to even the EPA itself, agree that high-octane fuels can improve efficiency and subsequently help us meet our ambitious fuel economy standards. There’s demand for this approach from everyday people as well, as evidenced by the 10,500 people who signed our petition urging the EPA to implement a high-octane strategy. Here’s what some of them had to say:
If you’re one of those people who supports our fight for better fuels, thank you! We’ll be sure to keep you updated in the coming months. For more information and discussion, check out our full comments below or head on over to our Policy CAFE.