The Bush Administration will not finalize its rulemaking on Corporate Fuel Economy Standards, according to a statement issued by the US Department of Transportation (DOT).
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) establishes the basis for the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy rules, and mandates the setting of separate attribute-based maximum feasible standards for passenger cars and for light trucks at levels sufficient to ensure that the average fuel economy of the combined fleet of all passenger cars and light trucks sold by all manufacturers in the US in model year (MY) 2020 equals or exceeds 35 mpg. (Earlier post.)
In April 2008, the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for new vehicle fuel economy standards that would bring the US average to about 31.6 miles per gallon in 2015 (35.7 mpg cars, 28.6 mpg trucks). Under EISA, NHTSA, the agency that “owns” fuel economy regulations, can establish standards for a maximum of five model years at one time. Hence, the initial proposed rulemaking covers model years 2011-2015.
NHTSA followed this with the release in October of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) on the new CAFE rules for light-duty vehicles from model years 2011 to 2015. Under Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations, NHTSA must compare the potential environmental impacts of its proposed action and a reasonable range of alternatives. In fulfillment of this requirement, NHTSA analyzed the impacts of six “action” alternatives and the impacts that would be expected if NHTSA imposed no new requirements (the No Action Alternative). Several of the FEIS scenarios resulted in higher 2015 fuel economy outcomes. (Earlier post.)
NHTSA had intended to issue the final rulemaking before the end of 2008.
The DOT statement said that the recent financial difficulties of the automobile industry “will require the next administration to conduct a thorough review of matters affecting the industry, including how to effectively implement the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA).”
There is a 1 April 2009 deadline for finalizing the rulemaking.