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It's our fault the industry won't reach a 54.5-mpg fleet average by 2025

The feds believe automakers have what it takes to hit that target, but a public completely blinded by low gas prices is making this a serious uphill battle.


Almost makes you wish gas prices were higher.


Brooks Kraft/Corbis/Getty Images

There's nothing more heartbreaking than trying your damnedest to do something, only to have it fail at the last minute due to forces beyond your control. That's what's happening right now with the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) target for 2025. Everything's there to achieve it, but buyers are preventing that from happening.

Automakers have been using a wide variety of technologies to help increase fuel economy -- engine downsizing, turbocharging, gasoline direct injection, transmissions with a number of forward gears; the list goes on. As part of CAFE 2025's midterm assessment, federal regulators admit that manufacturers are definitely on track to achieve these targets. But there's just one problem: the general public.

In the wake of low gas prices, buyers have once again flocked to trucks, SUVs and other larger, less efficient vehicles. The fleet average takes the mix of cars and light-duty trucks into account, so an automaker pushing a number of larger vehicles won't achieve the 54.5-mpg target for 2025, but that's not a problem because the target will be slightly lower for that automaker anyhow.

Despite the public's glaring myopia regarding gas prices (they won't stay low forever, folks) and our voracious appetite for large vehicles, we should still be on target to achieve a fleet average of 50-52.6 mpg by 2025, Automotive News reports. That's not too shabby.

The government's report is available online for public comment for the next 60 days or so.