Although President Obama’s move of saving Chrysler and General Motors from bankruptcy brought a massive turnaround in car sales, the car fuel economy decreased in 2015 due to cheap oil prices. Over 17.5 million cars and trucks were bought last year, making every car dealer and manufacturer across in the US jump for joy.
But the deal regarding an increase fuel efficiency, made between the President and auto manufacturers, is somewhat starting to fail in keeping up the ratio. The massive improvements in technology made possible through this deal made cars jump in Miles Per Gallon levels, reaching 25.8 MPG in 2014, a rather large boost from 2011’s 22.6 MPG.
According to the Transportation Research Institute of the University of Michigan, the average MPG for 2015 dropped below the 25 mark, reaching 24.9 at the end of the year. This was influenced by the major drop in fuel gas prices, reaching an average of $2.14 per gallon, caused by a global increase in oil supplies. The whole oil market was affected by this decrease, not just the car market or the fuel economy.
Because of the cheapness of gas, most American citizens saw this as an opportune time to invest into a less MPG efficient SUV, regardless of its fuel consumption ratio or its environmental impact. Although current SUVs are exponentially better than their older versions, their MPG ratio still pales in comparison to smaller compact cars.
Even if President Obama hoped that by saving the American car manufacturing industry he would be able to somewhat quell the amount of greenhouse gas emissions by forcefully sparking a move towards better fuel efficiency, the oil price drop was unavoidable. The fact that consumers do not pay attention to MPG ratios was very much noticeable last year if one would simply look at the amount of gas-chugging trucks and SUVs sold.
Currently, there exists a tug of war between the car manufacturers’ plan of creating better and more fuel-efficient machines while on the other side consumers simply opt to buy whatever they would enjoy driving. It’s safe to say that most US citizens enjoy driving a veritable powerhouse of a car, even though it consumes a larger amount of gas, instead of going for a hybrid or a less-consuming compact car.
But one must take into account that this is not entirely detrimental to car manufacturers. Quite the contrary, trucks and SUVs are sold at much higher prices than their smaller counterparts, making producers less likely to discourage this type of consumer behavior. If this will remain effect in 2016, alongside the steady drop in gas prices, the US will have a pretty arduous fight ahead of it if it wants to reach the goal of doubling the fuel economy and significantly lowering pollutant emissions by the year of 2025.
Because the fuel economy decreased in 2015, odds are that if consumers will not pay more attention to the MPG ratio of their cars, it will decrease further and further this year as well. It all depends on the global oil market as well as the general consumer behaviors and trends.