Proposed Rollback of Fuel Economy Standards
In August 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a rule to roll back the requirements for automobile fuel economy standards. While existing standards are set to increase throughout model years 2017 to 2026, the proposed rollback would hold the standards constant at 2020 levels for model years 2021 through 2026. Synapse recently completed a report for Consumers Union and a second report with Consumer Reports related to the U.S. EPA’s and NHTSA’s proposed rollback. The first report, released in October 2018, reviewed NHTSA’s and the EPA’s vehicle sales and safety analysis, identifying serious flaws in the underlying assumptions. After correcting these flaws, our analysis found that the proposed rollback would decrease vehicle sales along with vehicle safety. The second report, released by Consumer Reports, finds that maintaining the existing fuel economy standards would generate $460 billion in consumer savings relative to the EPA’s and NHTSA’s proposed rollback. These reports highlight the positive impacts that the existing fuel economy standards have in terms of vehicle sales, vehicle safety, and consumer spending, as well as the consequences of the proposed rollback.