The U.S. government is investigating the possibility of raising fuel economy standards to 62 miles per gallon by 2025. The Detroit Free Press reports that Hyundai isn't yet endorsing that number, but CEO John Krafcik feels 50 miles per gallon is well within reach. The Korean automaker already features two vehicles capable of 40 miles per gallon in the Sonata Hybrid and the new Elantra, and the next 15 years promises to show further gains in efficiency.
And that's not the only reason Krafcik is optimistic. CAFE fuel economy is actually figured out differently than the formula used by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Freep points out that while the monroney on an Elantra will show 29 miles per gallon in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, the compact's CAFE number will be 44 mpg. What a difference a formula makes. The outspoken chief executive says that taking a hard look at the CAFE numbers makes 50 mpg seem, "a heck of a lot more doable."
Doable, yes, but 50 mpg still isn't an easy task. Hyundai's two best vehicles are still under that number, and the rest of the company's fleet is far below the magic total. But 15 years is a long time in research and development years, and we're thinking most automakers will have at least a fighting chance to reach the big five-oh by 2025.