The Senate Commerce Committee will conduct a hearing today (Jan. 24) on whether to significantly increase the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard for sport utility vehicles (SUVs), pickups and minivans, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The Democrat-controlled committee is expected to propose a bigger CAFE increase than was approved by the House last year, according to the WSJ.
Now, CAFE requires an auto maker’s fleet of “light trucks,” a category that includes SUVs, pickups and minivans, to average at least 20.7 miles per gallon (mpg). Meanwhile, the CAFE for passenger cars is 27.5 mpg.
However, the combined passenger car/light truck fleet in the U.S. now averages 24 mpg, its lowest level in two decades due to the popularity of SUVs, pickups and minivans.
According to a Senate committee staff member interviewed by the WSJ, the panel is considering raising CAFE for the total U.S. auto fleet to 30 to 39 mpg starting sometime between the end of this decade and the middle of the next one.