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CAFE standards

12 April 2006

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) introduced new CAFE fuel economy standards for light trucks. The new fuel economy standards increase the mileage for light trucks by 11%, from 21.6 to 24 mpg in 2011. Starting in 2011, the new CAFE standards will also apply to larger vehicles, up to 10,000 lbs GVW, thus including larger SUVs. Until now, vehicles over 8,500 lbs were excluded from CAFE standards.

The changes represent the first complete reform of the CAFE program for pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles, and minivans since its inception in 1979.

The new rule also comments on the federal authority to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from automobiles. According to the DOT, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) prohibits any state regulations relating to fuel economy standards, and because GHG emission regulations effectively regulate fuel economy, such regulations are not permitted. The discussion can be found on pages 288 through 339 of the final rule.

California and a number of other states adopted GHG emission standards for automobiles, which have been challenged by the automotive industry.

Source: US DOT (press release)