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Automakers Push Back Against New 58 MPG Fuel Efficiency Proposal

  • The Biden administration's proposal would seek a 2% annual increase for passenger cars, and a 4% increase for light trucks' Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for 2027 - 2032 models.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the new standards would reduce gasoline consumption by 88 billion gallons through 2050, leading to a $18 billion combined benefit.
  • The proposal is facing criticism from the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which represents several major car manufacturers and claims the EPA's emissions proposal is "neither reasonable nor achievable."

The Biden administration on Friday announced a proposal to require raising fuel economy standards to 58 miles per gallon.

The proposal, from the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), would aim for a respective 2% annual increase for passenger cars, and a 4% increase in light trucks' Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for 2027 - 2032 models, and would require 2030 - 2035 "heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans" to boost fuel economy by 10% per year.

"If finalized as proposed, the updated standards would save Americans hundreds of dollars at the pump," reads a NHTSA press release. "all while making America more energy secure and less reliant on foreign oil."

CAFE requirements are not as stringent as an Environmental Protection Agency proposal in April to cut vehicle tailpipe emissions. NHTSA is barred by law from considering electric vehicles fuel economy in setting standards.

The EPA said its proposed 2027-2032 standards would cut emissions by 56%, or 13% annual average pollution cuts and result in 67% of new vehicles in 2032 being electric.

NHTSA estimates its proposal would cut gasoline consumption by 88 billion gallons through 2050. -Reuters

The NHTSA also estimates $18 billion of "combined benefits" would be realized as a result.

The rule, according to the agency, "will encourage manufacturers producing (internal combustion engine) vehicles during the standard-setting timeframe to achieve significant fuel economy, improve energy security, and reduce harmful pollution by a large amount."

The NHTSA is seeking comment on five alternatives, ranging from not hiking requirements to raising them annually by 6% for cars and 8% for light trucks.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation which represents GM, Toyota, Volkswagen and others has asked the EPA to soften its emissions proposal, calling it "neither reasonable nor achievable."

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