Mid-Term Review Begins for America’s Clean Cars

“Americans Must Continue to Work Together” for Environment, Economy – EDF

July 18, 2016
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) today officially launched a mid-term review for America’s Clean Car Standards – the historic effort to double the fuel efficiency of our cars and passenger trucks, reduce our dependence on imported oil, reduce pollution, and save families money at the gas pump.

The review kicked off with today’s release of a Draft Technical Assessment Report, which documents that our nation is well on its way to achieving these standards through advances in technology at low cost.

“America’s Clean Car standards are already revving up a stronger economy and putting the brakes on dangerous climate pollution. The Clean Car standards are delivering vital public health, environmental and economic benefits to our country now, and the innovative technologies that are being developed every day will help us continue to meet our goals,” said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). “Addressing the threat of climate change is the race of our lives, and we can’t win the race unless we’re driving the cleanest possible cars. We must keep the standards strong, and all Americans must continue to work together to forge common sense solutions for our environment and our economy.”

In 2012, EPA and NHTSA jointly finalized national greenhouse gas reduction and fuel efficiency standards for new cars and passenger trucks for model years 2017 to 2025. The overall U.S. clean car program is expected to double the average fuel economy of the nation’s fleet of cars and light trucks. The current standards built on the first phase of standards adopted earlier for model years 2012 to 2016. The historic program won broad support from automakers, the United Auto Workers union, small businesses, consumers, national security groups, economists, and health and environmental groups including EDF.

As part of the rulemaking establishing the second phase Clean Car standards, EPA and NHTSA are now conducting a mid-term review. Policymakers will consider feedback from industry and the public and then decide whether to adjust target goals for model year 2022 to 2025 vehicles. The process began with today’s release of the Draft Technical Assessment Report. Next there will be a public comment period to elicit public input.

Today’s cars and passenger trucks account for about 40 percent of all U.S. oil consumption and almost 20 percent of all U.S. climate pollution. According to EPA, if we protect the current strong goals for the standards, the nation’s overall Clean Car program will deliver the following benefits:

  • Consumers will save $1.7 trillion at the pump over the life of the program
  • Families that buy a new car in 2025 will save $8,000 in fuel costs over the life of the car
  • We’ll reduce our oil use by 12 billion barrels over the life of the program
  • By 2025 we’ll see oil savings of two million barrels per day – almost half of what we now import daily from OPEC
  • We’ll eliminate six billion metric tons of climate pollution
  • We’ll almost double our fuel economy performance by 2025

Many of America’s most popular cars and trucks are already meeting the goals of the Clean Car standards. Here are some success stories:

According to the Consumer Federation of America, model year 2016 is the third year in a row in which more than half of all passenger car and truck models offered for sale in the United States meet or beat the national standards. (Automakers must meet fuel-efficiency requirements on an average basis across fleets and vehicle classes, so some models can be below the standard as long as others exceed them)

  • The Ford-150, the most popular passenger truck in the U.S., has models that already meet standards for 2021, as do the Toyota Rav4, Chevy Malibu hybrid and Chevy Cruze. The 2014 Toyota Highlander meets standards for 2020.
  • Each Ford-150 bought in 2015 will use about 180 fewer gallons of gas a year than in the absence of the standards, and will save its owner eight trips to the gas station and $300 to $700 per year, depending on the price of fuel.
  • The Honda Civic and the Scion iA already meet 2023 standards.
  • The Chevrolet Volt, Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Spark and Smart ForTwo meet standards for 2025.
  • Every Mazda model now meets or beats the fuel efficiency target for its vehicle class, a first-ever achievement for an automaker that relies on internal combustion engines.
  • The 2016 Toyota Prius gets 52 miles to the gallon – which means it goes farther on a gallon of gasoline than any other vehicle.

You can find more about the Clean Car standards on EDF’s website.

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Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.