CAFE Standards: The Long & Winding Road

CAFE Standards

U.S. E.P.A.  Director Scott Pruitt, has proposed revisions of CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards for targeted years 2022-2025. This proposal is inspired by the relatively low, average cost of gasoline and the earlier improvements to overall “fleet” fuel economy made since action was taken in 2012 to increase MPG for American automobiles. These standards were set in place for many reported reasons: reducing dependence upon foreign oil and reducing greenhouse gasses were cited as the most critical; but there are regulations outside of the national CAFE standards that California imposes (and 12 other states adopted) under the CARB (California Air Resource Board) regulations enacted in the late 1960s. This has lead to recent legal posturing as these regulatory proposals pit national regulations/rights against those of individual states.

What gets lost in the ensuing legal wrangling and threats is the impact on manufacturers and consumers. These regulations are the prime catalyst for the automotive light-weighting processes being developed and applied. Meeting these standards has resulted in many automotive manufacturers and their suppliers redesigning, retooling and re-qualifying parts and processes to address the mandates. If these proposed changes move forward—how will it impact the processes and material in place?

The American automotive consumer generally still favors larger and more powerful vehicles. We tend to commute longer distances to our places of work and our public transportation systems are not as modernized or developed as they are in many other developed economies. With the desire to maintain the “independence” of the personal vehicle and larger, more powerful vehicles still being very much in demand—what will the eventual compromise be?

In the interim, lawyers, politicians and scientists will continue to argue their sides of the debate and the rest of us will continue to drive—and drive forward. It’s an interesting parallel that IRMCO pioneered and has championed our water-based, synthetic lubricants for the same initial reasons in the late 70s and early 80s—to reduce dependence upon foreign oil and to reduce environmental pollution. Over the decades—those foundational principles provided the opportunities to show customers how to shake their dependence upon oil as well— and have led to many other, tangible benefits to welding, cleaning and finishing processes. If ISO 14001 matters to you and your company – IRMCO has been helping our customers enact those practices for decades.

The CAFÉ standards will be argued, and we’ll follow those discussions as time, data and elections move the pendulum. CAFÉ standards alone will not be the panacea for reducing humanity’s impact on the world—it will take all of us doing many little and large things to achieve a true difference. Start today with something you can make a visible impact with—contact IRMCO and see how you can reduce your environmental footprint, replace outdated methods and technology and improve your manufacturing and local environment.



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