EPA and NHTSA keep on (light) truckin’ towards tighter fuel economy standards

Photo by ANATOLI AXELROD. Some rights reserved.

With zero days to spare, the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) yesterday jointly released a Notice of Intent laying out a plan to develop tougher fuel economy and GHG emissions standards for light-duty vehicles of model years 2017 through 2025.  The NOI, which was due September 30, 2010, was mandated by a presidential memorandum issued in May of this year.

The “bigger picture” issues driving the president’s memo included improved energy security, job creation, and environmental protection. According to the EPA’s news release, “the national program is intended to save consumers money by cutting down on fuel costs, improve our nation’s energy security by reducing dependence on petroleum, and protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas pollution that leads to climate change.” And, of course, offering Americans a “single national fleet of cars and light trucks” with high fuel efficiency means that we can buy all of our cars in-house.

A Technical Assessment Report (also jointly released by EPA and NHTSA yesterday) indicates targets of “real world fuel economy values” of 37 to 50 mpg by 2025. This represents a 3-6% improvement in fuel efficiency. But what about vehicles manufactured in the meantime? Earlier this year, the EPA and NHTSA issued a joint final rule regulating light-duty vehicles for model years 2012 through 2016.

Parties wishing to comment on the NOI should submit their comments by the end of October 2010. The agencies plan to issue a joint Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by September 30, 2011, and a Final Rule by July 31, 2012.

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You can track past and future related rulemaking for all vehicle types here (EPA) and here (NHTSA).

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