The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are proposing the “Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks” (SAFE Vehicles Rule) and seeking public comment on the proposed rule. The SAFE Vehicles Rule, if finalized, would amend certain existing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks and establish new standards, all covering model years 2021 through 2026.
More specifically, NHTSA is proposing new CAFE standards for model years 2022 through 2026 and amending its 2021 model year CAFE standards because they are no longer maximum feasible standards, and EPA is proposing to amend its carbon dioxide emissions standards for model years 2021 through 2025 because they are no longer appropriate and reasonable in addition to establishing new standards for model year 2026. The preferred alternative is to retain the model year 2020 standards (specifically, the footprint target curves for passenger cars and light trucks) for both programs through model year 2026, but comment is sought on a range of alternatives discussed throughout this document.
Compared to maintaining the post-2020 standards set forth in 2012, current estimates indicate that the proposed SAFE Vehicles Rule would save over 500 billion dollars in societal costs and reduce highway fatalities by 12,700 lives (over the lifetimes of vehicles through MY 2029). U.S. fuel consumption would increase by about half a million barrels per day (2-3 percent of total daily consumption, according to the Energy Information Administration) and would impact the global climate by 3/1000th of one degree Celsius by 2100, also when compared to the standards set forth in 2012.
The EPA and NHTSA released the proposed rule on August 24, 2018 and sought public comments by October 23, 2018. On September 26, 2018, the agencies extended the public comment deadline (83 FR 48578) to October 26, 2018.