US federal rules now dictate that new vehicles must average 40 mpg by 2026

The new standards will make the country less dependent on foreign energy sources.
Loukia Papadopoulos
traffic jams in the city.Kichigin/iStock

It seems U.S. President Joe Biden's administration is much more concerned with the environment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released new federal rules on Friday that would force new vehicles sold in the U.S. to have to average at least 40 miles per gallon of gasoline in 2026, according to a report by TechXplore. This number is up from the 28 miles per gallon mark that were enacted under previous President Donald Trump and follow global moves to reduce car pollution like Canada's decision to ban new combustion engine cars by 2035.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) further said that it estimates that the new measures will reduce gasoline consumption by more than 220 billion gallons over the life of vehicles, in comparison with the previous Trump standards. The new rules will witness an increase in gas mileage by 8 percent per year for model years 2024 and 2025 and 10 percent in the 2026 model year.

Making the country less dependent on foreign sources

"Transportation is the second-largest cost for American families, only behind housing," transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who also oversees the NHTSA, said. The new standards will make the country less dependent on foreign oil and gas helping to preserve "the freedom of our country to chart its future without being subject to other countries and to the decisions that are being made in the boardrooms of energy companies."

The war in Ukraine has seen gasoline prices spike nationwide to an average of more than $4.22 per gallon, an increase from the average of $2.88 per gallon that was in effect just a year ago. The new regulation, however, is not without its drawbacks.

It is expected that the price of a new vehicle in the 2029 model year will rise by $1,087 in what is already an expensive market. Meanwhile, several environmental groups still feel the measures are not enough.

Not enough?

"Climate change has gotten much worse, but these rules only require automakers to reduce gas-guzzling slightly more than they agreed to cut nine years ago," told TechXplore Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Transport Center at the Center for Biological Diversity.

The NHTSA however speculates that the new measures could lead to carbon dioxide emissions decreasing by 2.5 billion metric tons by 2050. That is a positive outcome that simply cannot be denied and one that is bound to improve the health of all Americans by reducing their exposure to car-related pollution

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