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

On Monday, the Biden administration finalized new fuel efficiency standards designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars. By 2026, the Environmental Protection Agency will require automaker fleets to travel an average of about 55 miles per gallon, up from the 37 miles per gallon standard they are held to from this year.

The agency estimates that the policy will save US drivers between $210 billion and $420 billion in fuel costs through 2050. Over the lifetime of a model year 2026 vehicle, that will translate into approximately $1,080 in individual consumer savings, taking into account the higher upfront cost of a more efficient vehicle. The EPA estimates that the policy will also prevent the release of about 3.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide over the same time frame.

“We’ve followed the science, we’ve listened to stakeholders, and we’re setting robust and rigorous standards that will aggressively reduce the pollution that harms people and our planet — all while saving families money,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

The new standards actually mirror the standards put forward by the Obama administration in 2012. If former President Trump hadn’t watered down in 2018, they would have needed automakers to create vehicles that could travel about 51 miles per gallon by 2025.

Jeff Alson, a former EPA senior engineer, told The New York Times that the new standards recapture the emissions reductions mapped out by the Trump administration. “That’s good, but it won’t get us anywhere near the level we need to reduce vehicle emissions enough to protect the planet,” he said.

We have reached out to Ford, General Motors, Honda, Toyota and Stellantis for comment on today’s regulations.

The new standards mark the most significant climate action President Biden has taken to date. As of 2019, the transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. However, the announcement comes just one day after West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said he would not support the Democratic party’s Build Back Better plan. The roughly $2 trillion plan includes a proposal for up to $12,500 in individual tax subsidies for Americans who buy an EV as their next car.

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