April 01, 2022
Statement by Ann Jaworski, Staff Attorney
“The Environmental Law & Policy Center appreciates the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) action to issue more stringent Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for model years 2024–26 cars and light trucks.
“ELPC supported NHTSA’s conclusion that the fuel economy standards set in 2020 under the Trump administration were not the maximum feasible and that they should be strengthened. ELPC and our Midwest allies urged NHTSA to adopt the proposed Alternative 3 – the strongest option, which would have required fuel efficiency to increase by 10% each year – and to limit flexibilities that would dilute the standards’ real-world fuel economy improvements. NHTSA is finalizing a rule that requires an 8% improvement in fuel efficiency in model years 2024 and 2025, and a 10% improvement in 2026. While ELPC is disappointed that NHTSA did not finalize the strongest option, this rule is still a massive and much-needed improvement over the Trump administration standards, and will achieve important fuel savings and pollution reductions.
“With transportation now the leading source of U.S. climate pollution, stronger CAFE standards are a critical tool for reducing the pollution driving the climate crisis. And with gas prices currently spiking, the 220 billion gallons of fuel this stronger rule will save adds up to significant savings at the pump for consumers.
“We are currently seeing climate change’s impacts on the Great Lakes and across the Midwest. While the transportation sector is transitioning to electric vehicles, in the meantime it’s imperative that fossil fuel-powered cars and light trucks are required to be as fuel efficient as possible. NHTSA’s tougher new rule is another step toward undoing the Trump administration’s backsliding on climate and clean cars.”
“NHTSA’s fuel economy standards, along with EPA’s tailpipe greenhouse gas emission standards finalized at the end of 2021, will help curb our addiction to oil, save consumers money at the pump, and cut climate pollution. But the bottom line is that we need to electrify cars and light trucks swiftly – a step that will not only help drive down our dangerous dependence on oil and meet the challenge of protecting our climate, but will also help low-income communities and communities of color who are more likely to live near highways and to suffer the health burdens of vehicle pollution.”