The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has presented a proposal for stricter fuel economy standards.

The proposal would require automakers of passenger cars and light trucks to reach an average fleet fuel economy of 58 US MPG (4.1L/100km) by 2032.

The NHTSA claims its proposed standards would save Americans hundreds of dollars in fuel costs, while also reducing reliance on foreign oil.

While the U.S. has continued to push for stricter fuel economy standards, the Australian Government is yet to present fuel efficiency standards predicted to increase electric vehicle supply and lower emissions domestically.

The NHTSA’s newest proposal includes a two per cent per year improvement in fuel efficiency for passenger cars, and a four per cent per year improvement for light trucks, applying to model years 2027 to 2032.

In terms of emissions, the NHTSA believes the regulations could save more than 900 million tons of CO2 emissions between 2022 and 2050, which is the equivalent of taking 233 million vehicles off the road.

It also predicts consumers could be saving over US$50 billion (AU$75.6 billion) on fuel over their vehicles’ lifetimes.

The estimated overall benefits of the proposed standards have been valued at US$18 billion (AU$27.2 billion).

The U.S. could also reduce its dependency on offshore oil by more than 88 billion gallons by 2050.

A 60-day public comment period has begun to allow stakeholders, including consumers, unions, automakers, states, and environmental groups, to have their say on the proposed legislation.

“Better vehicle fuel efficiency means more money in Americans’ pockets and stronger energy security for the entire nation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

While the proposed regulations intend to “promote American energy independence and American auto manufacturing”, the NHTSA says it will allow automakers flexibility on how it reaches those targets using any available technologies including internal combustion engines.

“Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards have driven the auto industry to innovate in improving fuel economy in ways that benefit our nation and all Americans,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson.

“The new standards we’re proposing today would advance our energy security, reduce harmful emissions, and save families and business owners money.”

The NHTSA has presented a slightly gentler proposal than that of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which demands a passenger car fleet average of 55 US MPG (4.3L/100km) by 2026.

The EPA is also calling for 67 per cent of new vehicles sold to be electric by 2032.

Earlier this year, the Australian Government said it would legislate a fuel efficiency standard designed to improve the supply of hybrid and electric vehicles for Australian buyers.

A final plan, including standards developed in cooperation with several stakeholders, is set to be introduced to Parliament by the end of 2023.

Australia is one of very few countries of similar economic standing without fuel efficiency standards, which punish car manufacturers should their new vehicle average CO2 emissions exceed an agreed, imposed limit.

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Eilidh McNaughton
Eilidh McNaughton is a Contributor at CarExpert.
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