EPA, DOT Announce Final Rule on CAFE Standards

Fleets will have to average just over 40 miles per gallon vs. 54 miles under Obama-era rule.

April 01, 2020

WASHINGTON—The Trump Administration yesterday changed corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards set by the Obama Administration for passenger cars and light trucks.

The Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles final rule applies to most passenger vehicles for model years 2021 through 2026. The new rule, which takes effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register, rolls back a 2012 rule that required automakers’ fleets to average about 54 miles per gallon by 2025. Instead, the fleets would have to average about 40 miles per gallon.

Specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is amending carbon dioxide standards for model years 2021 and later, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is amending fuel economy standards for model year 2021 and setting new fuel economy standards for model years 2022-26.

Under the rule, corporate average fuel economy—which regulates how far vehicles must travel on a gallon of fuel—and carbon dioxide emissions standards increase at an annual rate of 1.5% through model year 2026, compared with the standards issued in 2012, which would have required about 5% annual increases, NHTSA said in a news release. This is a change from the proposal issued in 2018, which included no increase in the rate. All new vehicles will continue to be subject to the strict pollution standards of the Clean Air Act and will be subject to higher pollution standards than the older vehicles that will be retired because of this rule.

The majority of automakers are not meeting the 2012 standard without resorting to the use of credits, NHTSA said. The final rule can be found at: NHTSA.gov/SAFE.

“We are delivering on President Trump’s promise to correct the current fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Our final rule puts in place a sensible one national program that strikes the right regulatory balance that protects our environment and sets reasonable targets for the auto industry. This rule supports our economy and the safety of American families.”