Washington, D.C. – The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed substantial increases in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for passenger cars and light trucks. The increased standards would also address climate change by reducing tailpipe emissions of CO2, which NHTSA said represents 97 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.

As standards can only be established for a maximum of five model years at a time, this would bring the 2015 U.S. average to about 31.6 US mpg (approximately 7.6 L/100 km), with cars averaging 35.7 US mpg (approximately 6.7 L/100 km) and trucks averaging 28.6 US mpg (approximately 8.3 L/100 km). For 2020, it would represent a target of 35 US mpg (approximately 6.7 L/100 km), an increase of 31 per cent over the 2007 new fleet average.

The NHTSA plans to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to address the potential environmental impact of the CAFE program and initiate a scoping process to identify the environmental issues and reasonable alternatives to be examined in the EIS. The agency is also requesting updated product plan information from the automakers to assist in developing a final rule. The information is in anticipation of obtaining statutory authority to reform the passenger car CAFE program and to set standards under that structure for model-year 2010-2017 passenger cars, and model-year 2012-2017 light trucks.

The agency estimates that the proposed standards will save approximately 18.7 billion gallons of fuel during the lifetime of passenger cars sold during those model years, and approximately 36 billion gallons of fuel for light trucks. NHTSA also stated that it estimates that compliance will cost automakers approximately US$16 billion for passenger cars and US$31 billion for light trucks to meet the proposed standards.

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