EPA announces strictest fuel-efficiency standards ever, reversing Trump-era rollback

On Monday, the Biden administration finalized new fuel efficiency standards designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars. By 2026, the Environmental Protection Agency will require automakers’ fleets to travel at a rate of 55 miles per gallon, up from 37 miles per gallon kept as of this year.

The agency estimates that the policy will save American drivers between $210 billion and $420 billion through 2050 on fuel costs. Over the life of the 2026 model, this will translate into approximately $1,080 in individual consumer savings after factoring in the higher initial cost of the more efficient vehicle. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the policy will also prevent the release of about 3.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide during the same time frame.

“We’ve followed the science, listened to our stakeholders, and set tough, rigorous standards that will dramatically reduce pollution that harms people and our planet — and save families money at the same time,” said Michael Reagan, director of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The new standards effectively mirror those the Obama administration introduced in 2012. Had former President Trump not weakened those standards in 2018, they would have required automakers to make vehicles that could travel about 51 miles per gallon by 2025.

Jeff Allson, a former chief engineer at the Environmental Protection Agency, said: New York timesThe new standards restore the emissions cuts approved by the Trump administration. “That’s fine, but it won’t lead us anywhere close to the level we should get to reduce vehicle emissions enough to protect the planet,” he said.

We’ve reached out to Ford, General Motors, Honda, Toyota and Stellantis for comment on today’s rule-making.

The new standards represent the most significant climate action President Biden has taken to date. As of 2019, the transportation sector was the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. However, the announcement comes just a day after Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he would not support the Democratic Party’s plan to build back better. Among other items, the nearly $2 trillion plan includes a proposal for up to $12,500 in individual tax benefits for Americans who buy an electric car as their next car.

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