Biden finalizes another softened fuel economy rule, still saves US billions

The Department of Transportation has finalized its latest Corporate Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which require increases in fuel economy that will reduce pollution and save Americans $23 billion in fuel costs. But like other recently adopted standards, they are nonetheless looser than the administration originally sought.

The new CAFE standards cover model years 2027-2031 and aim to increase fuel economy by 2% annually, bringing average fuel economy for light vehicles to 50.4 miles per gallon in 2031. The increases are largest for pickup trucks and heavy trucks, with increases by 10% from 2030 to 2032 and 8% from 2033 to 2035, with a target of 35 miles per gallon average for these vehicles by 2035.

The Department of Transportation says the new rule will save car and truck owners $600 to $700 over the life of their vehicles, and will save the country $23 billion in total fuel costs. It will reduce carbon emissions by 710 million tons and save 70 billion gallons of gas by 2050.

However, these rules are looser than the administration originally proposed, as the proposed rule would have targeted 55.7 mpg, instead of 50.4 mpg.

(Note: CAFE fuel economy calculations are more lenient than EPA’s, especially for electric vehicles (although This calculation has also changed), so cars won’t see an average of 50 mpg in the real world)

These numbers are well below the EPA’s impact Newly finalized emissions rules, which the administration said would save $100 billion annually in fuel and health costs, cut 7 billion tons of climate pollution, and save $6,000 per vehicle. These standards have also been relaxed Original proposal To respond to Pressure on automakers.

The two rules aim to complement each other, and address the problem of pollution and fuel costs from different angles.

EPA rules regulate automobile exhaust pollution in a technology-agnostic manner, allowing automakers flexibility in how they meet higher emissions standards. CAFE simply sets average fuel economy requirements, which is also not technology-based, and automakers can meet them by increasing efficiency in any way they see fit.

Either way, a rising share of electric vehicles is the easiest way to meet the new numbers, so both will encourage automakers to offer consumers more options for high-tech, low-polluting electric vehicles. The Department of Energy also recently Reducing the amount of “extra credit” EVs getWhich means automakers can’t just sell a few EVs to meet higher targets, they will have to deliver a larger share of EVs. This new calculation will make the new CAFE rules more effective, offsetting some of the disappointment of lower target mileage.

The supplemental rules would also be more resilient to legal challenges from a Republican Party hostile to people’s health and Americans’ finances. Sen. Ted Cruz has already said he will try to reverse the money-saving rule through the Congressional Review Act, though such efforts are unlikely to come to fruition.

In addition, several Republican attorneys general have already sued against the EPA regulation, demanding that Americans be burdened with higher fuel costs and more toxic air in order to satiate their Big Oil donors. And the convicted felon running for president on the Republican ticket has done just that He told the oil companies that he would receive $1 billion in bribes Against efforts to make cars more affordable for Americans.

But both fall within the purview of the EPA and DOT, as has been acknowledged many times in the past. Even if the Supreme Court of the United States Ignores the law to rule against anyone (as they did before)The other may survive longer.

Reaction to today’s CAFE rule was mixed. Environmental and health groups were mostly positive about them, with the Sierra Club and American Lung Association supporting the changes, though Dan Baker of the Center for Biological Diversity said the rules don’t go far enough and that the administration has “caved in to pressure from automakers.”

For their part, automakers have supported these changes through the Automotive Innovation Alliance, the auto industry’s main lobby group. AAI President John Bozzella (whose… Repeatedly Covered to He lies To support more pollution) he said the rule “works with other federal rules related to tailpipes,” which was AAI’s main desire — to ensure that different state rules were complementary to each other, rather than being in conflict. He said so looking at him Opposing reasonable rules in the pastBut his acceptance of this rule raises some doubts.

Other than these rules, the administration has implemented many other policies to encourage the transition to electric vehicles.

To take care of the initial costs, and Inflation reduction law It includes credits for the purchase of light and heavy-duty electric vehicles and charging installations, along with incentives for domestic manufacturing. The bipartisan infrastructure bill further incentivizes chargers.

On the commercial/heavy side, ports receive specific support from Clean ports programas School busesand the Environmental Protection Agency ensures that California It will remain a testbed for better environmental regulations. The administration also released it recently A major infrastructure plan to electrify all U.S. freight routes by 2040.

Biden too recently Increased customs duties on electric vehicles, is supposed to help encourage local manufacturing. But this is it Probably the wrong way to deal with the problem.

Take Electric

We can basically copy what we have from any other recent article on these emission standards.

On the one hand, it’s great to see things moving forward, and the government seems to be working on electrification from every angle.

On the other hand, this is not progressing fast enough, and we should stop listening to the automakers They begged the government to let them go bankrupt Because they refuse to move quickly enough in the transition.

The shift is coming, and within a couple of decades, every car on the road should be electric. Not only are they better, but consumer demand will move in the direction of EVs for that reason anyway (most likely). Before goalslike We’ve seen it before), but rapid electrification of transportation is required if we are to have any chance of avoiding the worst effects of climate change.

At this point, we can’t transition to clean transportation fast enough, and any standard any country has proposed so far is not robust enough to meet the environmental needs of the planet. So all of these standards could stand to be stronger, and this one is among them.

We still need to celebrate movement in the right direction, and acknowledge dissent He wants to move in worst directionWhich would cause more harm to Americans and every living being on Earth.

But we can be disappointed and ask for more, which we do again today, as we did in the past.

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