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NHTSA issues Final Environmental Impact Statement for proposed CAFE standards for MY 2017—2025

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Historical and projected achieved fuel economy (mpg US) for passenger cars and light trucks. Source: NHTSA Final EIS. Click to enlarge.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed CAFE standards for model years 2017-2025 (Earlier post.) The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and NHTSA have been working together on developing the National Program of harmonized regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel economy.

NHTSA and EPA issued a joint notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in November 2011 on the 2017–2025 program; NHTSA proposed CAFE standards to require, on an average industry fleet-wide basis for cars and trucks combined, approximately 40.1 mpg US (5.87 L/100km) in model year 2021, and 49.6 mpg (4.74 L/100km) in model year 2025. The agency also issued a draft EIS at that time.

In any single rulemaking under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (which established the CAFE program), fuel economy standards may be established for not more than 5 model years. For this reason, NHTSA’s proposal is limited to setting standards for MYs 2017–2021. In the NPRM, NHTSA also set forth values for MYs 2022–2025 that reflected the agency’s estimate of the standards it would have proposed and adopted had it the authority to do so. Actual CAFE standards for MYs 2022–2025 will be proposed in a subsequent rulemaking process.

However, because NHTSA’s effort is part of a joint NHTSA/EPA rulemaking for a coordinated and harmonized National Program covering MYs 2017–2025, this EIS addresses the potential impacts of the proposed standards for MY 2017–2021 and the values set forth for MYs 2022–2025 for each of the alternatives, thus covering the full MY 2017–2025 period.

The newly released final NHTSA EIS compares the potential environmental impacts of four alternative approaches to regulating light‐duty vehicle fuel economy for MYs 2017–2025, including a Preferred Alternative and a No Action Alternative, using two different assumptions regarding market‐driven fuel economy improvements and two different sets of fleet characteristic assumptions.

The four action alternatives are:

  1. No Action.

  2. A 2% average annual fleet-wide increase in fuel economy for both passenger cars and light trucks for MYs 2017–2025. Alternative 2 represents the lower bound of the range of annual stringency increases NHTSA believes includes the maximum feasible stringency.

  3. Preferred. Under the Preferred Alternative, manufacturers would be required to meet an estimated average fleet-wide fuel economy level of 40.3 to 41.0 mpg in MY 2021 and 48.7 to 49.7 mpg in MY 2025.

    These averages are uncertain, because the actual average required fuel economy levels in the future will depend upon the actual composition of the future fleet, which can only be estimated—with considerable uncertainty—at this time, NHTSA said.

    The proposed stringency increases to the attribute‐based standards (i.e. the target functions as expressed on a gallons per mile [gpm] basis) for MYs 2017–2021 average 3.6% for passenger cars.

    In recognition of manufacturers’ unique challenges in improving the fuel economy and GHG emissions of full‐size pickup trucks while preserving the utility of those vehicles, NHTSA’s proposal includes a slower annual rate of improvement for light trucks in the first phase of the program. The proposed stringency increases to the attribute‐based standards for MYs 2017–2025 average 2.3% (on a gpm basis) for light trucks.

    For MYs 2022–2025, the annual stringency increases set forth average 4.4% (also on a gpm basis) for both passenger cars and light trucks. The target curves identified as the Preferred Alternative and analyzed in this Final EIS are the same as those that defined the Preferred Alternative in the Draft EIS and outlined as the proposal in the NPRM. In other words, the rate of increase in stringency of the Preferred Alternative analyzed in the Final EIS has not changed.

  4. A 7% average annual fleet-wide increase in fuel economy for both passenger cars and light trucks for MYs 2017–2025. Alternative 4 represents the upper bound of the range of annual stringency increases NHTSA believes includes the maximum feasible stringency.

The EIS describes how the alternatives could affect energy use; air quality; and climate. The EIS also qualitatively describes potential additional impacts on water resources, biological resources, hazardous materials and regulated wastes, noise, and environmental justice.




It's not regulations that will change something because if the mpg for a given size increase then people will move to bigger vehicle because now a f-150 for exemple do 35 mpg instead of 22.

The goverment don't know what to do so they are doing a little bit of regulations and subsidies. There is many paths, better mpg, bio-fuels, more drilling for sustaining the economic growth. If there is economic growth everywhere then the other side become the pollution level so this is always a hard choice.

I said many time to begin hydrogen fuelcell cars and trucks commercialisation that way it is economic growth without pollution except way more traffic on crowded roads.


In the last 60+ years we knowingly (to satisfy cars-trucks-bus makers and Oilcos) moved people and freight from efficient rails to very inefficient ICE cars, vans, pick-ups, buses, light and heavy trucks etc.

Many are now trying to find the best solution but are not addressing the problem base. Increasing ICE efficiency and changing ICE vehicles for Electrified vehicles will reduce the man-made problem but will not fix it.

Moving most people and freight with very high speed very efficient e-trains would be a much better solution than building 300,000,000 electrified vehicles and more roads and highways for USA.

Building 100,000+ miles of new high speed electrified railroads + required e-trains could create a few million new jobs, reduce current very costly high unemployment, reduce fossil liquid fuel consumption, reduce GHG, reduce Oil import, reduce health care cost and help to reduce the nation deficit.


I would separate this area into several areas: city, intercity, city freight, intercity freight, continental and intercontinental transport.
Most economical and enviromental solution and already existing for our cities would be building public and even with private option city PRT systems in combination with existing HRT for big cities. PRT systems are also designated for freight transport during offpeak hours. PRT could draticly reduce city polution, transpot costs and dramaticaly increase travel speed.
Existing intercity rail needs to be electrified and as it is now used for freight transport.
Buildng new fast intercity rail network would be going back into XX century. I would bet on something new like intercity vacum pipes. Offcourse it is not developed enough but in principal technicaly quite simple solution and no special knowlage is neaded for making that. It was proposed to build such superfast and superefficient transport lines in Florida, but officials where not bold enough. If people would think that way we would never had any railroad or the car. Speed of vehicle in vacum pipes is limited by curvature of turns. Basic speed would be in the range of supersonic airplain but for intercontinental travel could be incrased up to 10 000 miles per hour. Steal pipe dimeter 1500 mm - quite standard.


Of course, various public high speed transport means can and should be used. Subways are expensive but are part of the solution for inner-city. Above ground systems are more disruptive but can also do a good job at a lower cost. Electrified city buses may be another compromise.

We certainly do not need that many million heavy trucks on our highways. Trailers could travel on high speed e-trains flat cars and e-tractors could move them at each end.

Changing the current model will meet with hgih level resistance.


Once again the Obama bureucrats are talking to themselves, and acting as if they can impose whatever laws, rules and regulations they deem good enough for their benighted citizens,in this case mileage requirements, usurping the powers of Congress.

Mileage requirements including the one requiring 35 mpg by 2020 were and are set by legislation voted on and approved by Congress in the Energy Acts of 2005 and 2007.

When these bureaucratic fools try to actually to enforce their own dreamed-up laws, we will see who and what hits the fan.

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