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Federal MPG Standards Through 2031: A Step Back for Trucks and SUVs?



The US administration announced on Friday new vehicle efficiency regulations for the years 2027 to 2031, which will modestly enhance the fuel economy of the nation's new car and truck fleet.

The Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) unveiled the definitive regulations for Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) on Friday. These stipulate that passenger vehicles and light trucks must each achieve a yearly enhancement in fuel efficiency of 2% for the specified model years.

The initially suggested annual rise of 4% for trucks and SUVs has seen a notable decrease. These vehicles, which are subject to less stringent regulations, now represent the majority of vehicle purchases in the United States. The International Energy Agency highlighted last week that SUVs produce approximately 20% more carbon dioxide compared to cars, regardless of whether they are powered by electricity.

Taking into account the provided information, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that, under its definitive regulation, electric vehicles (EVs) will need to make up 56% of the market by 2032, with plug-in hybrids comprising a minimum of 13%. Following this, General Motors (GM) is one of the car manufacturers that has restarted the production of plug-in hybrids, which may lead to a more gradual introduction of EVs. Previously, with a more stringent approach towards fuel-efficient light trucks, the projection was for EVs to constitute

Trucks will experience less strain, a reduction in electric vehicles, with an anticipated average of 38 miles per gallon by 2032. This relaxed approach suggests a significant drop to an estimated 38 mpg fleet efficiency average, a decline from the previously proposed 43.5 mpg by the agency in July 2023.

The latest Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, established in 2022 for the years 2024 to 2026, demand significant annual enhancements in fuel efficiency—8% for the first two years and 10% in the final year. This trajectory suggests that post-2026, car manufacturers may face less stringent increases. Projections indicate that by 2026, the average miles per gallon (mpg) for new vehicles will rise from the current average of 29 mpg to approximately 35 mpg.

Upcoming 2024 Model of

The regulations for vehicle fleets represent one aspect of the American standards for fuel efficiency and emission control, typically established through the collaboration of various agencies. They align with the EPA guidelines issued in March, maintaining a conventional structure that categorizes vehicle objectives based on specific "footprints," along with distinguishing between passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks.

The regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency persist in sidestepping an outright requirement for electric vehicles, opting for a more gradual increase than initially suggested. However, as they stand, they are widely seen as a triumph for the well-being of the community.

Electric vehicles are considered equivalent to a 300-mpg gasoline car until 2027

In terms of complying with the new emission and efficiency regulations, car manufacturers received a significant advantage. This advantage will assist them in adhering to the stricter standards set for 2024-2027. This is because, in March, the Department of Energy announced a three-year extension before implementing an updated Petroleum Equivalency Factor (PEF). The PEF determines the role of electric vehicles in fleet assessments alongside their gasoline counterparts.

General Motors' Electric Hummer Model

When broken down, this means an electric vehicle is equivalent to a traditional car that can achieve approximately 300 miles per gallon. This allows car manufacturers to continue producing a significantly higher number of gasoline-fueled vehicles in comparison to electric vehicles, while also encouraging the production of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). However, after a three-year introductory period that ends in 2027, electric vehicles will be considered as having the same impact as a gasoline vehicle with 120 miles per gallon. This reduction will decrease the number of less efficient gasoline vehicles that can be produced in proportion to each electric vehicle.

The foundational elements might lie with the EPA guidelines, but it's the CAFE regulations that truly dictate which variety of vehicles will dominate sales and focus during this era. These rules may inadvertently motivate car manufacturers to continue favoring the production of bulkier, fuel-hungry SUVs over more efficient, lighter passenger vehicles.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, although the law mandates that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) establish benchmarks for the highest practical average fuel efficiency automakers should reach each model year, not every environmental and consumer advocacy group viewed these regulations as fulfilling that potential. Consumer Reports, a consumer advocacy group, found them to be lackluster, expressing that the NHTSA's standards merely fulfill the bare minimum of its legal obligations.

Upcoming 2024 Model of the Volkswagen

Could car manufacturers produce an excess of electric vehicles?

Representing car manufacturers, John Bozzella, who leads the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, praised the coordination between NHTSA's regulation and the EPA's, expressing to S&P Global that it appeared both agencies were in sync.

This broadly optimistic comment regarding the regulations and trajectories suggests that car manufacturers are assured that this reading will permit them to produce a greater number of lucrative gas-fueled trucks without incurring penalties.

In a period where a new surge of suitable electric vehicles, potentially supported by cost reductions and advancements in battery technology, could gain popularity rapidly, car manufacturers have the opportunity to challenge the predictions made by regulatory authorities.


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What's the safety status of the largest and most fuel-consuming SUVs out there? Why is the progress of the federally funded $7.5 billion electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure so sluggish? We're revisiting the highlights from the past week with our Week In Reverse segment at Green Car Reports, for the week that concluded on June 6, 2024. The week was filled with hands-on experiences with some eagerly awaited new electric vehicles, alongside covering the most pressing news for eco-friendly car buyers. On Thursday, Rivian prepared the groundwork for its R2 aimed at the broader market with its "Gen 2" electric trucks that boast enhanced comfort, performance, weight, and simplicity. The next model year, 2025…

Take a look at initial test drives for the Rivian R1S and R1T, as well as the Toyota Crown Signia hybrid estate. Recent survey findings indicate a growing number of Americans are delaying their electric vehicle purchases because of charging concerns. Also, it's a misconception that non-hybrid SUVs that consume a lot of fuel are safer. All this and more on Green Car Reports. A number of significant…

The American Automobile Association has discovered that the enthusiasm for electric vehicles among consumers has seen a decline in 2024 compared to the previous year, citing affordability and charging infrastructure as key factors

Recent assessments indicate that the widely favored Ford Expedition and Chevy Tahoe fall short in providing the safety that consumers expect from such fuel-consuming vehicles.

Rivian has enhanced its R1 series by reducing the weight, improving efficiency, simplifying the construction process, and elevating the driving experience.

The upcoming electric SUV will soon be accompanied by the launch of the Polestar 3, expected in just a few months.

The Senator contends that relaxing regulations to permit car manufacturers to utilize electric vehicle battery components from China for an extended duration would be a violation of the law.

Toyota has broadened its U.S. Crown series by introducing a new model that offers the space needed for family use while masquerading as a crossover.

The electric taxis that roamed New York in the 1890s emerged during the initial, exploratory era of automotive development, where electric vehicles vied with their internal combustion and steam-powered counterparts.

A leading European battery provider reports that car manufacturers are demanding more affordable batteries, casting doubt on current strategies.

A large number of electric vehicles from Mercedes have been pulled back. Ford is possibly considering a fresh approach to battery swapping. Additionally, there's curiosity about the delay in establishing the national EV charging grid. Stay tuned for these stories and more at Green Car Reports. Due to a potential software problem, Mercedes-Benz has issued a recall for almost 15,000 electric vehicles…

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