Four years in and nine years to go, and it looks like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) isn't likely to bend much on its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard. That's the synopsis Automotive News makes of a speech Chris Grundler, director of the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, gave in Michigan on Tuesday. Yes, 54.5 miles per gallon is the 2025 goal, and the EPA is sticking to it.

Mind you, the 54.5 mpg CAFE standards are actually closer to a real-world average of about 40 miles per gallon. And with Grundler noting that there needs to be an 80-percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 in order to potentially avoid permanent global warming, that CAFE standard needs to be maintained. That's especially important because last year was the warmest on record.

What's making it tougher for automakers to meet those goals - and the reason the industry wants to abandon it – is the product mix of US sales. Specifically, the truck/car split is about 70/30 today, compared to a 50/50 split in 2012 when the EPA set the current CAFE goal, and gas prices have fallen since then. The good news is that about one in five new vehicles meet 2020 standards, so some automakers are ahead of the game.

Grundler is not alone in his quest. Last year, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) when on record saying automakers will be able to meet the 2025 fuel-efficiency goal. At the time, the Consumer Federation gauged that the percentage of vehicles with an EPA rating of at least 23 mpg had jumped almost 40 percent in the previous decade. To cite numbers for a few individual automakers, Mazda's model-year 2015 vehicles averaged 30.1 mpg, compared with Honda's 28.9 mpg and Subaru's 28.7 mpg.

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