President Joseph Biden’s administration announced a series of fuel economy standards this week, a move viewed as further spurring the nation’s shift to low-emission vehicles, especially electric vehicles.
The new regulation will ratchet fuel efficiency requires through 2026 and set the stage for even more aggressive mandates in the years after that.
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A final rule announced Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency would increase the minimum fuel economy mandate for light-duty vehicles to 40 miles per gallon for model year 2026 cars. The new schedule reverses a roll-back by Biden’s predecessor, Donald J. Trump, who had reduced targets set during the previous administration of Barack Obama. Biden was Obama’s vice president.
Biden’s administration said the new fuel economy schedule will aid in the fight to control global warming, reduce emissions of pollutants that are harmful to human health and allow Americans to save on fuel expenditures. The mandate is also intended as further incentive for automakers to continue shifting to electric vehicles.
“Companies are announcing unprecedented plans for an increasing diversity and production volume of zero- and near-zero emissions vehicle models, while also implementing a broad array of advanced gasoline vehicle [greenhouse gas] emission-reducing technologies,” EPA said in a news release. It forecasted that the portion of U.S. light-duty vehicle sales made up by plug-in hybrids and vehicles running solely on batter will swell from 7% for 2023 vehicles to 17 % in model year 2026.
Biden’s administration said it is beginning work on mandates for 2027 and beyond that will push the auto industry further toward vehicles that generate zero or near zero emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Earlier this year Biden reversed another Trump action, restoring the rights of states to adopt emissions regulations that are based on California mandates and stricter than federal regulations.
Policies promoting zero- or near-zero-emission vehicles are seen as favoring electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are viewed as a threat to the lubricant industry because battery EVs to not use engine oil, by far the largest lubricant product category. EVs to afford some opportunity as they require highly effective coolants and other new types of fluids.
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