We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are CAFE Standards?

By B. Schreiber
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
UnitedStatesNow is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At UnitedStatesNow, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In the United States, CAFE standards are a set of regulations that govern fuel efficiency for vehicles in the categories of cars and light trucks. CAFE stands for corporate average fuel economy, and requires manufacturers to meet efficiency averages for their fleet of such automobiles. CAFE standards are set by the the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The regulations were first intended to decrease the nation's need for oil, much of which is imported from foreign countries. They have also become a way to reduce pollution and curb emissions of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide.

The first CAFE standards mandated that manufacturers achieve a fleet-wide average of 18 milers per gallon (mpg). This had increased to 27.5 mpg by 1990 and remained unchanged until 2010. In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the NHTSA announced new standards that would reach a fleet-wide average of about 34 mpg by 2016. In that year, cars would be required to achieve about 39 mpg and light trucks about 29 mpg. Credits for vehicles that run on ethanol, as well as electric and hybrid vehicles, were also announced.

The standards are based on each car maker's fleet, or all car and light truck models combined, and are also weighted by sales. The EPA either tests the fuel economy of vehicles itself or receives results from manufacturers. The goals can be met in different fashions because of the weighted sales and various credits. While a company's average fuel economy may not meet the averages for its fleet, it can still meet the standards by selling a high volume of its most efficient models. Fines are assessed to car makers that do not meet CAFE standards.

CAFE standards first went into effect in 1975 as part of the Energy Conservation Act. Critics have pointed out that advances in fuel economy have been slower than originally intended. In 2010, the EPA and NHTSA announced that the regulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouses gases would be included in future versions.

In the United States, CAFE standards are often a political issue that appear regularly in campaign seasons. They are also a topic of discussion in response to spikes in the price of oil and gas. The decision to regulate greenhouse gases was due less to voter concern than the Supreme Court case Massachusetts vs. EPA. This case forced the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

UnitedStatesNow is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

UnitedStatesNow, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

UnitedStatesNow, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.