June 19, 2024
Industry News

New Biden rule increases real-world mileage standard for new vehicles to 38 mpg by 2031

WASHINGTON — New vehicles sold in the U.S. will have to average about 38 miles per gallon of gasoline in 2031 in real-world driving, up from about 29 mpg this year, under new federal rules unveiled Friday by the Biden administration.

The final rule will increase fuel economy by 2% per year for model years 2027 to 2031 for passenger cars, while SUVs and other light trucks will increase by 2% per year for model years 2029 to 2031, according to requirements released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

President Joe Biden has set a goal that half all of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2030 are electric, part of his push to fight climate change. Gasoline-powered vehicles make up the largest single source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The 50% sales figure would be a huge increase over current EV sales, which rose to 7.6% of new vehicle sales last year, up from 5.8% in 2022.

The new standards will save almost 70 billion gallons of gasoline through 2050, preventing more than 710 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions by midcentury, the Biden administration said.

“Not only will these new standards save Americans money at the pump every time they fill up, they will also decrease harmful pollution and make America less reliant on foreign oil,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “These standards will save car owners more than $600 in gasoline costs over the lifetime of their vehicle.”

The highway safety agency said it has sought to line up its regulations so they match new Environmental Protection Agency rules that tighten standards for tailpipe emissions. But if there are discrepancies, automakers likely will have to follow the most stringent regulation.

Fuel economy figures used by The Associated Press reflect real-world driving conditions that include factors such as wind resistance, hills and use of air-conditioning. Because of those factors, the real-world numbers are lower than the mileage standard put forward by NHTSA.

“These new fuel economy standards will save our nation billions of dollars, help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and make our air cleaner for everyone,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman.

The fuel-economy standards are “a relic of the 1970s,” Bozzella said, “a policy to promote energy conservation and energy independence by making internal combustion vehicles more efficient. But those vehicles are already very efficient. And EVs don’t combust anything. They don’t even have a tailpipe.”

Dan Becker at the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, slammed the new rules as inadequate.

The highway safety agency is supposed to set strong standards for gas-powered vehicles, he said, “but instead it sat on its tailpipes, leaving automakers free to make cars, SUVs and pickups that will guzzle and pollute for decades to come and keep America stuck on oil.”

The administration “caved to automaker pressure, with a weak rule requiring only a 2% improvement” per year in fuel economy, Becker said, adding that the rule falls short of the agency’s own requirement to set fuel-economy standards at the maximum technologically feasible level.

NHTSA said its rule includes a 10% improvement per year for commercial pickup trucks and work vans. Automakers can meet the requirements with a mix of electric vehicles, gas-electric hybrids and efficiency improvements in gas and diesel vehicles.


  • What is the goal set by President Joe Biden for new vehicle sales in the U.S. in 2030? – The goal is for half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2030 to be electric.
  • How much are car owners expected to save in gasoline costs over the lifetime of their vehicle with the new fuel economy standards? – Car owners are expected to save more than $600 in gasoline costs over the lifetime of their vehicle.
  • What are the potential benefits of the new fuel economy standards? – The new standards aim to save billions of dollars, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, decrease harmful pollution, and make the air cleaner for everyone.


The new federal rules unveiled by the Biden administration aim to significantly increase fuel economy standards for vehicles sold in the U.S., with a focus on promoting electric vehicles and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While some critics have expressed concerns about the adequacy of the rules, the administration believes that the standards will lead to significant cost savings, environmental benefits, and a reduced reliance on foreign oil. Moving forward, the transition to electric vehicles and the continued push for efficiency improvements in gas-powered vehicles will play a crucial role in achieving these goals.

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