The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is moving forward with its efforts to create a new industry standard for engine designs.
“We’re starting with the fuel optimization engineers,” FAA Administrator John Pistole told reporters Tuesday.
“This is something that’s been a long time coming.
We’re really excited to be the first to do this.”
Pistole said that the agency was still finalizing the standards and that there was “a lot of work to do.”
“We are working closely with our industry partners and we’re excited to get started,” Pistole added.
“I want to thank them for the interest in the project.”
Pistoles comments came a day after the FAA announced it would create an industry standard that would enable the agency to certify that a new engine design meets or exceeds the agency’s “best practices” for fuel efficiency.
“These best practices are based on decades of experience, which includes years of experience in evaluating, developing, and producing fuel-efficient vehicles,” the FAA said in a press release.
“FAA will be able to certify fuel efficiency for all aircraft, including those flying over water.”
The FAA expects the new standard will help fuel manufacturers compete for the FAA’s $200 billion airworthiness certification program, which would enable fuel-saving improvements to airplanes, helicopters, small planes, and sport utility vehicles.
But Pistoles remarks were met with some skepticism by industry experts, who said the FAA would have little incentive to change the current standards.
“It’s not going to change their cost structure,” said Michael Riedel, CEO of the National Automobile Dealers Association.
“There’s no incentive to put something like this in the new engines.”
The Federal Airworthiness Directive, a set of standards that govern the engine designs that will eventually go into production, sets out a goal of making an engine that is “economically feasible” in the same way that a car is “cost-effective” for the same vehicle type.
The goal is to create an engine design that is as fuel-economy-friendly as possible.
“Aero efficiency has been an industry-leading metric, but we know the new standards will only make the fuel efficiency better,” said Riedeel.
“The old rules don’t allow for fuel-efficiency improvements.
They’re still the same old rules.
They just make it more difficult for companies to compete.”
Pistolis comments also came at a time when automakers are also considering fuel efficiency improvements.
Last year, Ford announced that it was adding a fuel efficiency rating to its Focus and Escape vehicles.
The automaker also said it would start testing the new fuel efficiency ratings for the Ford Ranger, Focus, and Escape.
“Ford is working on the fuel-consumption standards for all vehicles, including its newest generation, which will be unveiled in the coming months,” the company said in its press release announcing the fuel savings improvements.
“Our commitment to fuel-cell technologies, combined with the recent fuel economy certifications, has been a strong driver of this transition.”
Ford also announced that all models of its Focus, Focus Hybrid, and EcoBoost electric vehicles would get a new fuel-optimization rating in 2019.
A spokesperson for Ford did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“You can’t go wrong with the Focus and EcoModels.
The Focus Hybrid is a solid option, and the EcoBoost EV has a good range,” said James Davenport, CEO and founder of the Davenports Group, in a statement.
“But there’s no excuse for not being able to improve fuel economy.”
Pistola told reporters that the new airworthiness standards will “help to enable all manufacturers to be more efficient, safer, and environmentally sound.”
“This will also create more jobs for engineers, engineers that can build these engines that are truly fuel- and fuel-free,” Pistoles added.
The FAA, however, said it will take “months, not weeks, to finalize the new industry standards.”