Corporate Average Fuel Economy

 New Fuel Economy Standards a Letdown for Consumers

The latest energy law included the first updated fuel economy mandate in over three decades. This is a long-overdue and necessary improvement. The new mandate doesn't push hard enough for consumers looking to reduce the nation’s tragic dependence on oil, to cut harmful asthma- and cancer-causing vehicle emissions, and to save consumers money by pushing for the best possible fuel economy increases for the nation’s cars, SUVs, minivans and trucks.

The structure of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program has been fundamentally changed. Now, federal standards will be set for the entire fleet of vehicles manufactured for sale in the U.S., instead of determining each manufacturers’ compliance with that standard. Size-based standards will be set for cars and light trucks, so larger vehicles will have to meet lower fuel economy standards.

While Congress has sent a powerful message to automakers, the new fuel economy standards will give the industry nearly another decade to improve fuel economy. In the face of high oil prices, reduced dependence on foreign oil, and global warming, consumers deserve better. 

»Slip Sliding Away: The Cheney Sliding Scale for Fuel Economy

Copyright © 2016 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.

Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation


Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.


To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.