US regulator introduces relaxed fuel economy standards

America’s top safety regulator has officially introduced more relaxed fuel economy standards, following a similar move by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a few months ago.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has officially announced new fuel standards, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rules that require an average fleet fuel economy of 50.4 mpg by 2031. Automotive News. The new standard falls short of the original requirement, which said cars and light trucks would achieve an average fuel economy of 58 mpg by 2032.

Additionally, the new standards require a 2 percent annual improvement in fuel efficiency for cars, while light trucks must see a 4 percent improvement between the 2027 and 2032 model years.

The NHTSA rule change comes as a means of accommodating and complying with recent standard changes from the EPA that do not require electric vehicles (EVs) to be sold as in previous rules. Under new EPA rules that took effect in March, EVs must account for 30 to 56 percent of automakers’ light vehicle sales between 2030 and 2032, down from a previous plan to reach 67 percent by 2032.

While the EPA can generally set stricter standards than NHTSA, the latter agency is not allowed to use them when determining the maximum potential fuel economy of EVs for a given year, although it must use them when determining compliance.

„As the number of electric vehicles has increased, it has become more difficult for NHTSA to set strong standards like the EPA’s emissions standards,” said Consumer Reports Senior Policy Analyst Chris Hardow.

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The Alliance for Automotive Innovation argued that the new revised standards align NHTSA’s rules with the EPA’s.

„Should an automaker be considered in violation of CAFE rules (and subject to billions of dollars in civil penalties) if it complies with the standards established by the EPA’s new greenhouse gas rules? No, they shouldn’t,” said Alliance CEO John Bocella. „And … at first glance. , the final CAFE rule seems to say the most!”

The coalition also notes that as the auto industry moves toward EVs, fuel economy standards will become increasingly irrelevant.

„CAFE is a relic of the 1970s – a policy to promote energy security and energy independence by making internal combustion vehicles more efficient,” adds Bozzella. „But those vehicles are already very efficient. And EVs? They don’t burn anything. They don’t even have a tailpipe,” he said.

NHTSA says the new regulations were developed in collaboration with the EPA, with the two agencies working together to „improve the effectiveness of its standards while reducing compliance costs.”

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