WASHINGTON (August 5, 2021)—Today President Biden, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation announced stronger vehicle emissions standards, which will be one of the key tools for how the Biden administration can make progress towards the goal to slash the United States’ total greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

Starting with the 2023 car model year (MY), new passenger vehicles will be required to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 10% compared to MY2022 standards. Further reductions of 5% per year will be required through MY2026, resulting in more stringent standards than any previously on the books in the United States. The Department of Transportation (through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) proposed standards that will result in roughly equivalent fuel economy improvements, and President Biden signed an Executive Order setting a goal for 50% of new vehicle sales to be electric by 2030. Details of how compliance with the standards is calculated will affect how much they reduce emissions overall compared with the regulations established during the Obama administration. 

Following is a statement from Dan Lashof, Director, WRI United States:

“The importance of these new vehicle emission standards is hard to overstate. Along with the infrastructure investments currently under consideration in Congress, these standards will be among the most impactful measures that the Biden administration can take to address the climate crisis.

Transportation is now America’s number one source of carbon pollution, so these new emission rules will be a primary tool to achieving the United States’ commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. Tightening vehicle emissions standards offers a wide array of additional benefits that go well beyond tackling climate change. Stronger standards will cut consumer spending on fuel by billions of dollars and significantly reduce tailpipe pollution that puts our health at risk. And the new rules will jolt car manufacturers to accelerate their transformation to all-electric vehicles, better positioning American companies to compete in global markets as internal combustion engines become obsolete at breakneck speed.

Many manufacturers and the United Auto Workers union clearly recognize the future is electric and are cooperating with the administration to seize upon this opportunity. All consumers will benefit as everything from small sedans and SUVs to full-sized pickup trucks are offered in electric versions. 

Congress should supplement these standards by passing infrastructure and reconciliation packages that unlock billions of dollars in funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure and rebates for electric school buses, transit buses and commercial trucks as well as passenger vehicles.”