EPA announces stronger final federal clean car standards in response to demands for increased ambition – Climate Group responds | Climate Group Skip to main content
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EPA announces stronger final federal clean car standards in response to demands for increased ambition – Climate Group responds

20 December 2021, 18:01 UTC 2 min read

Today, the Biden Administration announced the updated final federal clean car standards.

Federal clean car standards, managed by the US Environmental Protection Agency, require automakers to address and reduce tailpipe emissions from passenger vehicles by establishing yearly reductions in climate change causing pollutants such as CO2. These standards typically operate in tandem with Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, led by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which regulate how far a passenger vehicle must go on a single gallon of fuel.  

Today’s release includes the final clean car standards for Model Year (MY) 2023-2026 vehicles, following the active public comment period which featured input from businesses, states, and civil society. The comment period demonstrated a clear demand for increased ambition and stronger clean car standards, which Climate Group’s EV100 initiative and members advocated for through various letters, stakeholder meetings and discussions.

“We’re pleased to see the Biden administration respond to input from communities, states and businesses to strengthen the proposed federal clean car standards. As transportation is the largest source of emissions in the US, strong federal standards are key to reaching critical climate targets and improving public health. We look forward to working with the administration moving forward to accelerate the electric vehicle revolution and make electric transportation accessible for all and achieve 100% zero-emission vehicle sales for new passenger vehicles.”

Louisa Plotnick, Head of Programs for North America at Climate Group

Strong federal clean car standards that address passenger tailpipe emissions are a critical way to reduce total transportation sector emissions and to help achieve the US’s goal of 50-52% emissions reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2050. Additionally, strong clean car standards can protect millions of families from the harmful impacts of vehicle air pollution and save drivers money at the pump all while accelerating the advent of zero-emission transportation technologies like battery electric vehicles (EV). A recent study found that in 2017, stronger vehicle emission regulations saved an estimated $270 billion in costs and 20,000 lives in the US.  

The final clean car standards increase in stringency from the first proposed standards released by US EPA in August 2021. This demonstrates US EPA’s willingness to listen to the input of EV100 alongside other experts and industry stakeholders. The final standards return US ambition to the same level of stringency from the Obama-era for vehicles manufactured in 2025. In 2026, the standards raise US ambition and increase to more than 10% stringency, saving consumers thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the standards. In addition, the final standards help deliver $120-190 billion in benefits to American consumers by reducing transport-related air and noise pollution, improving public health and reducing costs to fuel vehicles. Collectively, these standards are the strongest vehicle emission standards ever established for the passenger vehicle sector in the US.

The EV revolution is here and 2021 saw major growth in EV sales. Through our EV100 initiative, over 120 members are showcasing that rapid electrification is possible and have committed to electrify 5.4 million vehicles and deploy charging at over 9,000 locations all by 2030. These final federal standards will help to accelerate EV uptake and electrify transportation in the US.