A lot has been said about how great the new efficiency standards set by President Obama are and how much money will be saved and how much fuel won’t be used because of them. Rhetoric is one thing, reality is another.
Would it surprise you to know that in 1980 when the average Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) for cars was about 25 miles per gallon, actual on-road economy was about 16 mpg? Or that in 1990, when the average CAFE for cars was 28 mpg, the actual on-road economy for them was only 20 mpg? Even in 2000, the CAFE average for cars was still around 28 mpg, but on-road economy was just 21 mpg. Those are numbers the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA, on-road data) has as compared to the annual reporting of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for CAFE figures. These numbers are just for passenger cars – they get worse with light trucks.