NHTSA Proposes More Stringent Fuel Economy Standards

On September 3, 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on behalf of the Department of Transportation, proposed revised corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2024–2026. This proposal continues NHTSA’s implementation of President Biden’s January 20, 2021 Executive order, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science To Tackle the Climate Crisis.’’ In that order, President Biden directed that the 2020 “Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021–2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks’’ be immediately reviewed for consistency with public health, environmental, and other policy goals, and that the Secretary of Transportation consider suspending, revising, or rescinding the 2020 rule by July 2021. Following President Biden’s directive, NHTSA reviewed the 2020 rule under its authority to set CAFE standards and concluded that, consistent with NHTSA’s statutory mandate to improve energy conservation, the 2020 standards should be revised so that they increase at a rate of 8 percent year over year for each model year from 2024 through 2026, for both passenger cars and light trucks. This proposed rule would revise the CAFE standards accordingly and would also make minor changes to fuel economy reporting requirements.

NHTSA’s proposal follows EPA’s August 5, 2021 proposal of strengthened greenhouse gas standards for light-duty motor vehicles for model years 2023–26, which likewise implemented President Biden’s January 2021 order.

Comments on NHTSA's proposed rule should be submitted on or before October 26, 2021.