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US NHTSA announces new vehicle fuel economy standards for MY 2024-2026

4 April 2022

On March 31, the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finalized new corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for light-duty vehicles, reversing the SAFE rule that was adopted by the previous US administration. The new CAFE standards correspond to the revised US EPA greenhouse gas emission standards that were adopted in December 2021.

The new CAFE standards require an industry-wide fleet average of approximately 49 mpg for passenger cars and light trucks in model year 2026, the strongest fuel efficiency standards to date. The new standards will increase fuel efficiency 8% annually for model years 2024-2025 and 10% annually for model year 2026. They will also increase the estimated fleetwide average by nearly 10 mpg for model year 2026, relative to model year 2021.

The above figures represent the CAFE fuel economy, which is different from the fuel economy experienced in real driving or the EPA fuel economy values.

The GHG and CAFE fuel economy standards have been repeatedly modified by the subsequent US administrations. The original rule was issued in 2012 by the Obama administration [2912]. In 2020, it was relaxed by the SAFE rule adopted under Trump administration [4754].

In January 21, the EPA and NHTSA have been directed by presidential Executive Order 13990 to review the standards again. The revised standards, including the EPA GHG rule of December 2021 [5365] and the newly adopted NHTSA CAFE standards, have been tightened to require even deeper emission reductions than the 2012 regulation.

Source: US NHTSA