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AG Nessel Urges NHTSA to Adopt More Stringent Fuel Economy Standards for Light-Duty Vehicles

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined a coalition of 23 attorneys general and six cities in supporting the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's (NHTSA) proposal to increase the stringency of corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for model year 2024-2026 vehicles.  

Under the Energy Policy Conservation Act, NHTSA is required to set standards to improve fuel economy and reduce the energy consumption of passenger cars and light-duty trucks to the maximum extent feasible. Strong fuel economy standards have saved consumers money, reduced harmful emissions, and helped protect the health of our communities. In today's comment letter, the coalition argues that NHTSA's proposed standards - unlike the Trump-era rules the coalition is currently challenging in court - are supported by science, reason, and the law.   

"Stricter fuel efficiency standards will save drivers money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and will lower the impact of climate change on environmental and public health." Nessel said. "It is time for the NHTSA to finalize these standards so that we may continue to combat the climate crisis." 

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act requires NHTSA to establish "maximum feasible" fuel economy standards and to consider "technological feasibility, economic practicability, the effect of other motor vehicle standards of the Government on fuel economy, and the need of the United States to conserve energy" in doing so. Under the Trump Administration, NHTSA abdicated this responsibility with its so-called "SAFE" rules, which rolled back the nation's Clean Car Standards. The changes to the CAFE standards alone were expected to "result in 1.9 to 2.0 additional billion barrels of fuel consumed," and reverse consumer savings through increased fuel expenditure. All in all, NHTSA estimated that the net benefits of their final rules "straddle[d] zero."  

In their letter, the coalition expresses their strong support for NHTSA's proposal to set more stringent fuel economy standards for model years 2024 to 2026. Improved fuel economy saves consumers money; improves our national security by reducing our dependence on imported oil; counters climate change; improves air quality; and benefits public health. For example, NHTSA expects these standards to reduce multiple types of harmful air pollution, including particulate matter. Importantly, the impacts of NHTSA's proposed standards are likely to be magnified in low-income communities and communities of color, who are often located in transportation corridors and are disproportionately burdened by pollution and the resulting health consequences. 

Joining Attorney General Nessel in sending this letter are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia, as well as the cities of Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose in filing the letter.