Law & Order

NHTSA Finalizes CAFE Fuel Economy Standards for '27-'31 Passenger Cars, Light Trucks

Internal combustion engines

From the SEMA Washington, D.C., office

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model-years '27–'31, which require automakers to meet a fleetwide average of 50.4 miles per gallon (mpg) in model year '31.

Under NHTSA's current standards for model years '24–'26, which were finalized in 2022, automakers are required to meet a fleetwide average of nearly 47 mpg in 2026. NHTSA's final CAFE rulemaking for model-years '27–'31 puts in place standards that are lower than the agency's 2023 proposed standards that would have required automakers to average 58 mpg in 2032. Below are key provisions in the final rulemaking: 

  • NHTSA is requiring light trucks, a category that includes pickups, larger SUVs and minivans, to improve gas mileage by a total of 14% by 2031 (the agency's original proposal would have required a 24% improvement in gas mileage by 2032).  
  • The rulemaking will increase light-truck fuel economy from 35.2 mpg in 2024 to 45 mpg by 2031. 
  • NHTSA is requiring passenger cars and small SUVs to improve fuel efficiency by 10% (this is unchanged from the original proposal, but the final proposal now lasts until 2031 instead of 2032).  
  • The rulemaking increases passenger cars and small SUV fuel economy from 48.7 mpg in 2024 to 65 mpg in 2031. 

SEMA President and CEO Mike Spagnola submitted comments to NHTSA in October 2023 outlining concerns that the agency's proposed standards would force automakers to rapidly expand sales of electric vehicles and reduce sales of internal-combustion engine vehicles to avoid paying an estimated $14 billion in fines. Click here to read SEMA's official comment to NHTSA. 

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