Boosting Fuel Economy

The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) ordered the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to raise fuel economy standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Lisa Jackson granted California’s request for a waiver to enforce its greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger cars. In September 2009, the two agencies issued a joint proposal to regulate fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. The proposal would require passenger cars and light trucks to reach an average of 35.5 miles per gallon and 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile in 2016.

This was the first major jump in fuel economy standards since 1985 when the original standards were phased in. The proposal, when finalized, will mark the first act to regulate greenhouse gases and protect from the worst consequences of climate change. There’s still plenty of work to do to make sure the agencies achieve the best achievable fuel economy.