Meeting Fuel Economy Standards

With the goal of reducing energy consumption in the 1970s and beyond, the U.S. Congress enacted the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program. The CAFE program consists of two components: setting fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks (administered by the NHTSA) and calculating the average fuel economy for automotive manufacturers (the job of the EPA). If a manufacturer doesn’t meet the current year standard, they have to pay a fine. Window sticker EPA fuel economy estimates and CAFE standards are different. The window sticker shows a tank-to-wheel or battery-to-wheel fuel economy, not taking into account the energy to produce and deliver a fuel. The CAFE fuel economy estimate is well-to-wheel, including an adjustment for alternatives that provides a higher miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent (MPGe).