The Fuse

SAFE Report Identifies Opportunity to Modernize Fuel Economy Standards

by Leslie Hayward | April 10, 2018

Following the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to revisit vehicle efficiency standards for model years 2022–25, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) released an analysis finding that 18–25 percent system-wide fuel economy savings could be realized by using existing driver assist and autonomous vehicle technologies while saving thousands of lives. The report proposes encouraging automakers through the off-cycle credit program to deploy several of these technologies in exchange for real world data that can determine the long-term potential to save lives, increase system-wide fuel efficiency, and reduce emissions.

“Tight oil hasn’t changed the nature of our oil dependence or our energy insecurity.”

“The transportation sector is undergoing one of its most profound transformations in history, and SAFE believes the deployment of advanced vehicle technologies will save lives and fuel,” said Robbie Diamond, SAFE’s President and CEO. “By leveraging the off-cycle credit program, this proposal will provide a platform for incorporating and testing a full suite of advanced vehicle technologies. The upside potential is so great to society that it is worth seizing this opportunity. This technology revolution offers the Trump Administration and California one pathway to find agreement on a strong long-term standard while offering flexibility to the auto industry to achieve it.”

The report, Using Fuel Efficiency Regulations to Conserve Fuel and Save Lives by Accelerating Industry Investment in Autonomous and Connected Vehicles, explores the EPA’s off-cycle credit program as a potential mechanism to carry out this program. As part of the proposal, automakers could earn compliance credits for a set timeframe of three to five years, in exchange for deploying the selected technologies widely and sharing the data collected about the technologies’ performance with regulators. Should the technology be proven to improve efficiency, lower emissions, and increase safety, regulators would have the data necessary to account for these technologies in future compliance periods.

During a release event this morning in Washington, an expert panel weighed in on why SAFE’s proposal makes sense.

“Automakers need prudent policy incentives to encourage them to integrate these technologies into new vehicles faster.”

“Automakers need prudent policy incentives to encourage them to integrate these technologies into new vehicles faster, technologies that save lives and save fuel,” said Gene Gurevich, Director of Policy and Government Affairs for Mobileye. “This proposal is a win-win-win. Encouraging deployment of these technologies will save lives, save fuel, and and substantively boost our energy security, which serves our national interests.”

When asked if policymakers and consumers have grown complacent about fuel efficiency, Admiral Dennis Blair, former Director of National Intelligence, said, “Tight oil hasn’t changed the nature of our oil dependence or our energy insecurity. Growing collusion between Saudi Arabia and Russia, potential return of Iran sanctions, and many other geopolitical threats remain in the oil market with the potential to impact consumers, which is why efficiency remains a priority.”

In addition to significant fuel savings, SAFE’s analysis also includes findings that existing crash avoidance technologies could prevent an estimated 9,900 fatalities.

The full report can be accessed here.