The Biden Administration Releases New, Less Stringent Vehicle Emission Rule

The Biden administration recently unveiled a new vehicle emission rule that presents less ambitious fuel economy standards than originally proposed. Under the new rules, fuel economy will increase by 2 percent per year for passenger cars for model years 2027–2031, whereas light trucks will see a 2 percent annual increase for model years 2029–2031. This move is in contrast to President Joe Biden’s initial proposal in 2022, where passenger vehicles were expected to achieve an average of 55 miles per gallon by 2026.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed boosting the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements by 2 percent per year for passenger cars and 4 percent per year for light-duty trucks from 2027 through 2032. However, these figures have now been significantly reined in. While the auto industry has praised the new CAFE standards, some environmental groups have expressed disappointment with the less stringent regulations.

The new fuel economy standards are expected to improve gas mileage, ease the burden of high gas prices for American families, and reduce the nation’s oil consumption. Katherine García, the director of the Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All Campaign, emphasized that auto manufacturers will need to deliver cleaner and more efficient vehicles as a result of these regulations. Despite the positive aspects of the new standards, there are concerns about the industry’s slow progress towards electrification.

While there has been an improvement in fuel economy in the US over the years, the country is still struggling to meet the fast-approaching deadlines. The preference for large trucks and SUVs among American consumers has led to automakers lagging behind in achieving higher miles per gallon of gas compared to their competitors.

The Biden administration’s release of a new, less stringent vehicle emission rule has sparked mixed reactions from various stakeholders. While the auto industry has welcomed the new standards, environmental groups have raised concerns about the lack of stringency. The focus now shifts to how auto manufacturers will adapt to these regulations and deliver cleaner, more efficient vehicles in the coming years.


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