Soon after he took office, President Joe Biden told the Environmental Protection Agency to set new fuel efficiency standards, and by the end of 2021, it did.
The agency's final rule set higher targets for new cars and light trucks from model year 2023 to 2026.
The Trump administration scrapped aggressive targets set under President Barack Obama. Under Trump's rules, the goals rose about 1.5% each year.
Under the new rules, they go up between 5% to 10% annually. By model year 2026, car makers' fleet average would be 40 miles per gallon. Overall, fuel efficiency in 2026 would be nearly one-third higher than in 2021.
"The final program represents the most ambitious light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards ever established," the agency said in its Dec. 20, 2021, press release.
The EPA predicted that fuel savings would end up cutting drivers' costs by over $1,000 over the life of a vehicle.
The change drew praise from the Natural Resources Defense Council, a leading environmental advocacy group.
"The United States is getting back on the road to cleaning up transportation pollution," the NRDC said in a post on its website. "These standards will cut carbon emissions by 3.1 billion metric tons by 2050, equivalent to two full years of emissions from all transportation in the United States."
The auto industry, which has committed tens of billions of dollars to develop electric vehicles that have no tailpipe emissions, said it will need government help to meet the new standards.
"Achieving the goals of this final rule will undoubtedly require enactment of supportive governmental policies — including consumer incentives, substantial infrastructure growth, fleet requirements, and support for U.S. manufacturing and supply chain development," said John Bozzella, CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, an industry trade group.
The new rules go into effect in February 2022.
We rate this Promise Kept.