The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Trump administration announced today its long-awaited changes to the country’s fuel economy standards.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Trump administration announced today its long-awaited changes to the country’s fuel economy standards. The new rules weaken previous regulations, requiring CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) and C02 emissions standards to increase annually by 1.5 percent through 2026. Previous standards called for a 5 percent increase annually through 2025. The EPA projects the overall industry fuel economy average to reach 40.1 miles per gallons in 2026, compared to the previously projected 46.7 mpg required by 2025.
The updated regulations – called Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule – will make new cars more affordable for American families, who are, on average, driving 12-year-old vehicles, according to the agency. It predicts new car prices to drop by $1,000, with a $1,400 reduction in consumer ownership costs over the life of the vehicle. New car prices have jumped dramatically since 2010, now averaging approximately $37,000.
The agency says the new rules will lead to 2.7 million additional new vehicles sold, a $100 billion reduction in regulatory costs, and more. The agency claims vehicles will be safer, too, accounting for 3,300 fewer crash fatalities, 46,000 fewer hospitalizations, and 1.8 million fewer vehicles damaged in the crash. New vehicles will still be subject to the Clean Air Act’s strict pollution standards.
The new rules aren’t favored by everyone, though. The Natural Resources Defense Council in a blog post highlighted several of new rules’ deficiencies that the weakened regulations. One drawback, using the administration’s own analysis, is that Americans will consume 78 billion additional gallons of fuel, costing them $176 billion when gas is averaged $2.25 a gallon. The rules will also allow for more pollution – 867 million additional metric tons of automobile carbon pollution.
The new rules come after years of drama. The Trump administration originally touted freezing fuel economy standards at 35 mpg through 2026. Automakers took sides, too, with some taking the side of the federal government while others inked an agreement with California. There’s a high likelihood the new regulations will face lawsuits, which could tie up the new rules in court.