Funny thing about government mandates: Unless severely enforced, the majority of Americans will do what they want. Take the Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements, for instance. Sure, automakers meet these stringent (and rising) standards by flooding rental fleets with fuel-efficient vehicles, but what to drivers really buy? According to a new report from Chug, a car market tracker, only one major market in the country is actually exceeding 2011 mileage standards.
To whit: In 2011, the CAFE target is 24.1 mpg. The only market to meet this standard is Palm Springs, CA, where drivers have purchased new cars that average a combined 24.51 mpg. By contrast, the Minot-Bismarck, ND, market has drivers who have purchased new cars averaging a combined 19.03 mpg, or 21 percent below the full standard. You can see more details on the report here, but nationwide drivers are purchasing vehicles with a combined mileage of 22.18 mpg — which was the target for 2007! And that’s with $3/gallon gas. Think what the fuel economy standards would be if gas were cheaper!
Just goes to show you, you can’t really mandate market behavior!
(This post written while listening to “Shelter Me” by Cinderella.)