On April 1, the Obama administration announced a new set of fuel efficiency standards and tailpipe emission limits for automobiles. The joint ruling from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will set estimated corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards at 35.1 miles per gallon by the end of 2016 and require tailpipe emissions to be less than 250 grams carbon dioxide (CO2) per mile. The ruling will apply to cars beginning in 2012. The rules are expected to increase the upfront costs of vehicles sold in 2016 by about $985, but will save consumers $3000 over the life of the car due to reduced fuel consumption. In total, the program is expected to eliminate the equivalent emissions of 50 million cars and light trucks while conserving 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the regulated vehicles.
“These are the first national standards ever to address climate change,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Gina McCarthy. “Over the coming years, America will witness an amazing leap forward in vehicle technologies, delivering fuel efficiency that will save us money and protect the environment.”