US Energy Department proposes a reduction in mileage ratings for EVs

EV makers will have to adjust to meet new CAFE requirements.
Can Emir
Eco drive light icon on car dashboard
Eco drive light icon on car dashboard


The U.S. Energy Department (DOE) has proposed reducing the mileage ratings of electric vehicles (EVs) to meet government fuel economy requirements. This move could force automakers to sell more low-emission cars or improve conventional models.

The DOE has called for significant changes in how the petroleum-equivalent fuel economy rating for EVs and plug-in electric hybrids is calculated for use in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program. The current system has not been updated for over two decades.

According to the proposed regulation, "Encouraging adoption of EVs can reduce petroleum consumption but giving too much credit for that adoption can lead to increased net petroleum use because it enables lower fuel economy among conventional vehicles, which represent by far the majority of vehicles sold." The Miles Per Gallon equivalent (MPGe) ratings are determined by values for national electricity, petroleum generation and distribution efficiency, and driving patterns.

Criticizms of the current EV ratings

Environmental groups have criticized EV fuel economy ratings, which are far higher for determining CAFE compliance than those listed on the government's consumer website. The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, representing major automakers, warned last year that lowering the values could have far-reaching implications and discourage EV adoption.

A Volkswagen ID.4 EV with a current 380.6 MPGe under CAFE would get 107.4 MPGe under the DOE proposal, while a Ford F-150 EV drops from 237.1 to 67.1 MPGe, and Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid falls from 88.2 to 59.5 MPGe. Tesla backed the environmental groups' petition for the change in 2021.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to propose new rules to spur sweeping cuts in vehicle emissions that will push automakers towards a big increase in electric vehicle sales. The 2027 to 2032 model year pollution cuts are expected to result in at least half of the new U.S. vehicle fleet by 2030 being electric or plug-in hybrids, in line with a goal President Joe Biden outlined in 2021. NHTSA is also expected to propose new stringent CAFE requirements soon.