US vehicle emission standards move

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"These historic new standards set ambitious, but achievable, fuel economy requirements for the automotive industry that will also encourage new and emerging technologies. We will be helping American motorists save money at the pump, while putting less pollution in the air." This is how Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the new national standards for passenger cars and light trucks today.

The requirements are raised to an average of 35.5 miles per gallon for 2016 model-year cars and light trucks from 27.3 mgp in 2011. Automakers receive credit toward the goal for improvements in air-conditioning systems. The new standard is equivalent to 156 gCO2/km. Passenger cars will have to meet a target of 37.8 mpg by the 2016 model year, while pickups, sport utility vehicles and minivans will need to average 28.8 mpg according to the fact sheet of the NHTSA and EPA. (

The average car buyer of a 2016 model will save $ 3000 net over the life cycle of the vehicle, as lower fuel costs offset higher upfront costs. The program is estimated to save almost a billion metric tons of CO2 over the lifetime of the regulated vehicles, being equivalent to taking 50 million cars and light trucks off the road in 2030.

The double standards for SUV's and passenger cars remain. The new standards don't help much to achieve the benefits of switching to passengers cars that were highlighted in the WDR 2010.


Andreas Kopp

Chapter Author, World Development Report 2010

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