Model Year 2012–2016 Clean Car Standards

Published Apr 2, 2010 Updated Aug 23, 2010


Increasing the fuel economy of America’s cars and trucks enhances energy security, cuts global warming emissions, and saves consumers money at the gas pump. Using existing technology, any vehicle – from sedans to minivans to pickup trucks – can go farther on a gallon of gas and release fewer heat-trapping emissions. Unfortunately, little progress had been made since the mid 1980s to increase fuel economy and realize these benefits. As a result, today’s average new vehicle sold in the U.S. has virtually the same fuel economy as a new vehicle sold twenty years ago.

In response, Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the state of California have all taken steps in the past few years to raise fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new cars and light trucks. Consolidating these efforts, President Obama announced national clean car standards in May 2009 to boost fuel economy and cut global warming emissions through model year 2016. The final rule to implement these standards was approved on April 1, 2010. They will take effect with the 2012 model year vehicles.

These standards represent an unprecedented agreement between the federal government, the state of California, and the auto industry. The final agreement will represent the largest improvement in fuel economy in over thirty years, and the first ever regulation of global warming emissions under the federal Clean Air Act.

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