SEMA eNews Vol. 13, No. 40, October 7, 2010

Government Seeks New Fuel Economy Standards for Model Years 2017–2025

The federal government intends to set stringent new fuel economy and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions standards for model year 2017–2025 vehicles. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are working with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to establish the standards.

The federal agencies have asked for public comment on four possible targets for reducing emissions, at 3%, 4%, 5% and 6% annually (equivalent to 47–62 mpg or 190–143 CO2 grams per mile).

The targets envision four scenarios to meet the standards, from relying on hybrid-electric vehicles and advanced gasoline engines to a combined fleet of hybrid/electric/gasoline-electric vehicles. Achieving the standards would require a reduction in vehicle mass and new powertrain technology.

According to government projections, while vehicle prices would rise by thousands of dollars, the consumer would ultimately save money in fuel costs. The federal government intends to issue a proposed rule by September 2011 and set final standards by July 2012. CARB is currently drafting its own CO2 standards for the same time period.

The government set new fuel-economy/CO2 standards for model years 2012–2016 cars/trucks in 2009. The rules established a national approach to regulating CO2 emissions rather than a patchwork of state rules. The average rating in 2016 will be 35.5 mpg/250 CO2 grams.

While the specialty-equipment industry is a leader in developing solutions to technological challenges, SEMA will review the data and assumptions upon which the fiscal years 2017–2025 proposal is based to determine if they can be applied to the mass-production marketplace and whether they would threaten consumer safety and choice.

For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at stuartg@sema.org.

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