The media have been abuzz over fuel efficiency since the Trump administration reopened a review of regulations that improve the fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions of light-duty vehicles.
Since then, industry associations and environmental and consumer groups have weighed in on what relaxing or strengthening the standards would mean for consumers and the types of vehicles produced.
On July 25, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it may revise auto fuel efficiency requirements and freeze fuel economy targets. Much of the media narrative surrounding the announcement and fuel efficiency as a whole is based on widely held but false beliefs, resulting in a national conversation about fuel efficiency based more in myth than science.
The current fuel economy standards have flexibilities to respond to consumer preferences and gasoline prices, so the prevailing claim that standards should be frozen because gasoline prices are low and because consumers prefer SUVs to more efficient vehicles is a false narrative. There are six common misconceptions in these discussions, which can be cleared up by understanding six key points about the policy.