Study: 62 mpg CAFE standard would cost consumers an arm and... $1,450

Bumping up federal fuel economy standards to 56 miles per gallon in the 2025 would yield fuel savings that offset increased vehicle prices, according to the Center for Automotive Research. However, CAR says, jumping to 62 mpg would increase vehicle prices to such a degree that additional cash needed to buy an auto would exceed the amount of money saved at the pump over a five-year period.

Center for Automotive Research president, Jay Baron, points out that although the research firm is partially financed by the automotive industry, this study was internally funded. With that disclosure out of the way, let's look at some of the numbers:
  • Technological advancements will drive up the average cost of vehicles by $3,810 to $11,390 by 2025, depending on CAFE targets.
  • Fuel savings would range between $5,917 and $8,339, depending on CAFE requirements, over the first five years of owning a 2025 vehicle.
  • Under the 47-mpg, 51-mpg and 56-mpg targets, fuel savings would exceed the increased cost of a new vehicle.
  • Under the 62-mpg standard, increased vehicle prices would top fuel savings by $1,450.
Here's the kicker: Center for Automotive Research chief economist Sean McAlinden says that raising the CAFE target to 62 mpg would force consumers to retain their aging autos, resulting in less fuel-efficient vehicles on U.S. roads, increased fuel consumption and more pollution. Looks like this could turn into a "less is more" scenario if things don't go right.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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