Lewis Diuguid

Fuel efficiency rises, but will fall short of goal at the current pace

Government officials are celebrating the fact that vehicles sold in the United States on average boosted their fuel-efficiency in 2012.

They averaged 23.6 miles per gallon, the Environmental Protection Agency reports. While the 1.2 miles-per-gallon increase is good news, automakers — like the Jerry Reed country song “Eastbound And Down” — “have a long way to go and a short time to get there.”

Automakers need to attain 54.5 mpg by 2025. A review of the progress will occur in 2018. That’s good.

If the march toward better fuel efficiency continues at the current pace, automakers will only have improved about 7.2 mpg by 2018 and only 15.6 mpg by 2025.

At that pace, the average fuel efficiency will only be about 38 mpg by 2025. Somehow, automakers will have to get the average fuel efficiency in the U.S. to hit 54.5 mpg.

Maybe the government can exclude luxury cars, SUVs and pickup trucks from the count.