This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 06, 2010

EPA and DOT to Prepare Fuel Economy Standards for Model Years 2017-2025

The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on October 1 that they will begin the process of developing tougher greenhouse gas (GHG) and fuel economy standards for passenger cars and trucks built in model years 2017 through 2025. This will build on the first phase of the national program covering cars from model years 2012 through 2016. In preparation for the upcoming joint rulemaking, the agencies and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have performed an initial assessment of potential stringencies with annual GHG reductions in the range of 3%-6% per year, which would result in average fleet fuel economies equivalent to 47-62 miles per gallon of gasoline in 2025. The assessment demonstrates that substantial reductions in fuel consumption and GHGs can be achieved with the use of advanced technologies.

The assessment considers the costs and effectiveness of applicable technologies, compliance flexibilities available to manufacturers, potential impacts on auto industry jobs, and the infrastructure needed to support advanced technology vehicles. The assessment was developed through extensive dialogue with automobile manufacturers and suppliers, non-governmental organizations, state and local governments, and labor unions. The EPA and NHTSA emphasize that this is an initial assessment, and significant additional data gathering and analysis will be performed to support the future joint rulemaking.

In a memorandum issued on May 21, 2010, President Obama directed the EPA and DOT to issue a Notice of Intent (NOI) that would lay out a coordinated plan to propose regulations that will extend the national program. He also directed the agencies to coordinate with CARB in developing a technical assessment to inform the NOI and subsequent rulemaking process. Along with the initial assessment of potential reductions in fuel consumption and GHGs, the NOI outlines next steps for additional work the agencies will undertake, including issuing by November 30 a supplemental NOI that will include an updated analysis of possible future standards. As part of that process, the agencies will conduct additional studies and will meet with stakeholders to better determine what level of standards might be appropriate. The agencies aim to propose actual standards within a year. As of October 5, the NOI has not yet been published in the Federal Register. See the DOT press release, the NHTSA and EPA Web sites, and the unofficial version of the NOIPDF.