Federal and California agencies’ Technical Assessment Report (TAR) released today is the first step in the mandatory “midterm review” of fuel economy (CAFE) and greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks in model years 2022-2025. The review will be key to maintaining progress toward far cleaner and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks under landmark standards adopted in 2012. The standards have been bringing fuel efficiency technologies into the market at an impressive rate, delivering substantial savings to consumers.
Recent statements from the auto industry indicate a desire to use the midterm review process to weaken the standards. But vehicle technology advances cited in the TAR indicate opportunities to strengthen them instead. With current low fuel prices, fuel economy standards become all the more important in ensuring the continued investment in efficiency technology that will be needed to reach the long-term goal of a sustainable transportation sector. And the standards are pegged to vehicle size, and hence self-adjust when sales shift towards larger vehicles.
Yet, meeting US obligations to dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades will require rapid—and absolute—reductions in car and light truck fuel consumption whatever the mix of vehicles sold. A successful midterm review will not only maintain momentum toward 2025 but also point the way toward further progress in the years beyond. This in turn will help automakers compete in a global market demanding continuously higher fuel efficiency and reduced emissions from tomorrow’s vehicles.
We look forward to reviewing the draft TAR in detail and providing input to the next stage of the midterm review.