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US Government Proves That It’s Serious About Greener Cars

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While some of the gas guzzlers on the road might make you think otherwise, the United States has a strict set of laws in place to help make vehicles greener as the years progress, with a goal of an average 54.5 fleet-wide miles per gallon by the 2025 model year. Some manufacturers have included the payment of noncompliance fines in their budgets instead of engineering better cars, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is taking notice. To prevent this scheming, the government organization is doubling fines imposed on automakers that fail to meet standards.

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To show just how serious it is about enforcing environmental policy, the changes will take place next month and will apply not just to the 2016 model year, but 2015 as well. That means that an automaker who entered 2015 knowing that their cars were not quite up to snuff will have to hand over more money than they anticipated and cut into any profits. Of course, automakers are not happy with this announcement. It just goes to show that cheaters never prosper, at least if they build cars.

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard is how the government enforces its policy, which sets the average efficiency rating a manufacturer’s fleet must achieve in the categories of domestic passenger cars, imported passenger cars, and light-duty trucks. This system aims to make it more costly for manufacturers to build inefficient cars compared to the costs to engineer better technology. Manufacturers who do not meet the CAFE requirements are fined, and about $20 million a year gets collected every year. According to the NHTSA, the biggest offenders are usually Jaguar Land Rover, which has paid more than $46.2 million in fines over the past four model years, and Daimler, which has sent $28.2 million in the same period.

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With huge fines on the horizon, hopefully car makers will get off their duffs and start building cars for our future, instead of sitting back and accepting the cost for failing to follow the law. If drivers speed, they get a ticket, and it (hopefully) makes them slow down. The same should be true of these penalties, and the higher costs should certainly make them more of a deterrent to noncompliance.

News Sources: MONEY (Time) and