New Vehicle Efficiency Rules Point US to a Cleaner Future

Statement by Michelle Robinson, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Apr 1, 2022

Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a final rule to improve fuel efficiency for passenger cars and light trucks. These standards are an important step to save drivers money, cut U.S. oil use, and advance vehicle technology, and, along with the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently released emissions rules, one of the most significant policies to reduce climate change. These standards must be followed by even stronger standards in the years to come, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Michelle Robinson, director of the Clean Transportation Program at UCS.

“For decades, fuel efficiency and emissions standards have been delivering better cars to millions of drivers, saving us hundreds of billions of dollars. The last administration slammed the brakes on this progress with its effort to weaken standards. It’s critical that we get back on track—and today’s rules are a good start. The Biden administration resisted industry pressure and issued a strong rule, one that will bring real benefits and hold manufacturers accountable, at a time when gas prices are an increasing strain on the economy.

“Today’s standards will cover cars and light trucks sold between now and 2026, but as the climate crisis grows, we need to look ahead to the longer term. Automakers must continue to improve the efficiency of the gasoline vehicles that make up most of today’s market, but also build the strong electric market of the future. To meet our climate goals, electric vehicles must make up about half of the new-car market by 2030 and 100 percent of it by 2035. We’re looking forward to the next round of vehicle standards to make that future a reality.

“The urgency of the moment demands that we do more than undo the damage of the previous administration and make slow, but steady, progress forward. A cleaner, electrified transportation future is within our reach, but only if we choose it.”