Stronger fuel standards proposed for new, light vehicles

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today formally unveiled their joint proposal to set stronger fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas pollution standards for model year 2017-2025 passenger cars and light trucks.

The proposal is part of a national program issued by the Obama Administration, the first phase of which is expected to raise fuel efficiency equivalent to 35.5 mpg by 2016 and result in an average light vehicle tailpipe CO2 level of 250 grams per mile.

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According to the EPA, today's proposed standards alone will reduce oil consumption by 4 billion barrels and cut 2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution over the lifetimes of the vehicles sold in those years.

The proposed program for model year 2017-2025 passenger cars and trucks is expected to require increases in fuel efficiency equivalent to 54.5 mpg if all reductions were made through fuel economy improvements. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said these improvements would save consumers an average of up to $6,600 in fuel costs over the lifetime of a model year 2025 vehicle for a net lifetime savings of $4,400 after factoring in related increases in vehicle cost. Overall, she said the net benefit to society from this rule would total more than $420 billion over the lifetime of the vehicles sold in model year 2017-2025.

The public is able to comment on the proposal for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. DOT and EPA plan to hold several public hearings around the country.  California plans to issue its proposal for model year 2017-2025 vehicle greenhouse gas standards on December 7 and will finalize its standards in January.

Vehicle manufacturers will need to acquire technologies such as advanced gasoline engines and transmissions, vehicle weight reduction, lower tire rolling resistance, improvements in aerodynamics, diesel engines, more efficient accessories, and improvements in air conditioning systems to meet the proposed standards.

The EPA said the standards should also spur manufacturers to increasingly explore electric technologies such as start/stop, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles. The model year 2017-2025 proposal includes incentive programs to encourage early adoption and introduction of advanced technologies, such as hybridization for pickup trucks. 

Combined with 2011 fuel economy standards and the standards in effect for 2012-2016, the EPA said these actions would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half and result in model year 2025 light-duty vehicles with nearly double the fuel economy of model year 2010 vehicles.

More on the NHTSA and EPA's notice of proposed rulemaking:


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