National clean car standards

Historic national limits on extensive climate pollution from cars and light trucks

In August 2021, President Biden signed an executive order setting a goal that 50 percent of all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in 2030 be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). Cars and light trucks account for about 45 percent of all U.S. oil consumption and nearly 20 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

In response, his Administration finalized greenhouse gas standards for new model year 2023-2026 passenger vehicles that strengthen the clean car standards weakened by the previous administration and help put us on a path to a zero-emission future.

The final 2023-2026 standards will result in an estimated:

  • 3.1 billion tons of avoided CO2 emissions through 2050;
  • reduction in gasoline consumption in the U.S. of more than 360 billion gallons through 2050;
  • fuel cost savings to Americans of up to $420 billion through 2050.

The Biden Administration plans to propose new standards for model years 2027-2030.

California is working to update its Advanced Clean Cars regulation (ACC II) to reflect a 2020 executive order that set a goal that 100 percent of in-state sales of new light-duty passenger cars and trucks be ZEVs by 2035.

Transition to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs)

Rapidly ensuring all passenger vehicles are zero-emitting is one of the most important actions the U.S. can take to reduce climate pollution and provide healthier and longer lives for millions of Americans, especially low-income neighborhoods and communities of color that are more likely to be harmed by transportation-related pollution.

According to our analysis, national standards that ensure that all new light-duty vehicle sales are ZEVs by 2035 would have the following impacts:

  • Save buyers of a new 2027 battery electric vehicle (BEV) more than $5,300 over the life of the vehicle.
  • Avoid more than 600 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2040 – roughly the annual climate emissions from Canada.
  • Avoid as many as 5,000 premature deaths and 281,000 lost workdays each year by 2040 and prevent as many as 98,000 premature deaths cumulatively by 2050.
  • Save Americans $88 billion annually by 2040 in economic and pollution benefits and nearly $1.6 trillion cumulatively by 2050.

Automakers are committed to ZEVs

All major automakers have committed to building zero-emitting vehicles. For many, this includes investments in vehicle and battery factories across the U.S. that will produce thousands of jobs.

  • Ford, GM, and Stellantis (Chrysler’s parent company) have pledged to spend more than $100 billion on electrification – and their pledges keep growing.
  • GM has said it will launch more than 30 electric vehicles globally by 2025, including a Chevy Silverado and a GMC Hummer, and expects its zero-emission line to turn a profit.
  • Ford recently introduced a new electric version of its best-selling F-150 pickup truck and its Transit van.
  • Volvo announced it will only sell electric cars by 2030
  • Volkswagen had previously announced that it expects 50% of its U.S. sales to be zero-emitting vehicles by 2030, and recently indicated it plans to further accelerate production.
  • Thirteen manufacturers have already announced plans to spend over $72 billion to open new or renovated plants in the U.S. to build EVs in five different states.

Fact sheets, reports and links