Biden raises vehicle mileage standards, reversing Trump rollback
The Biden administration has put forward its most ambitious vehicle mileage goals to date, raising standards for cars and small trucks while reversing a Trump-era rollback.
Under the final rule released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday, the federal government will require cars and other light-duty vehicles to achieve a 40 miles per gallon standard over the next five years.
That’s up from the 32 miles per gallon required by the Trump administration in 2020 and slightly higher than an original goal of 38 miles per gallon put forward by the Biden administration.
The EPA standards, which will apply to model years 2023-2026, are projected to avert more than 3 billion tons of emissions — equivalent to the majority of nationwide carbon dioxide emissions in 2019 — between now and 2050.
Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation of all kinds comprise about 28 percent of emissions nationwide, making it the biggest emitter of any single sector.
The Biden administration previously reversed another Trump-era policy, allowing states to adopt stronger emissions rules than the federal government. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have voted to adopt the stricter standards set by California.
In addition to tightening the Trump-era emissions standards, the final EPA rule is also stricter than that of an Aug. 10 draft by 10 grams per mile. During the period the standards cover, they would cut emissions about 28 percent, according to an analysis from the Environmental Protection Network.
Environmental advocacy organizations had heavily lobbied the administration to tighten the rule during its comment period.
“The final rule for light duty vehicles reflect core principles of this Administration: We followed the science, we listened to stakeholders, and we are setting robust and rigorous standards that will aggressively reduce the pollution that is harming people and our planet – and save families money at the same time,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.
“At EPA, our priority is to protect public health, especially in overburdened communities, while responding to the President’s ambitious climate agenda. Today we take a giant step forward in delivering on those goals, while paving the way toward an all-electric, zero-emissions transportation future.”
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Tom Carper (D-Del.) praised the new rule in a statement, saying “Investing in clean cars is a key way we are going to save our planet and grow our economy, and the Biden Administration’s announcement today will help make that happen.”