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EPA Suggests Administration’s Proposal to Increase Fuel Economy Standards is Lax

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed comments Aug. 18 on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) draft environmental impact statement (EIS) in support of the proposed increase in corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. However, the EPA suggested that the Department of Transportation’s proposed increase is not sufficiently stringent, stating that the EIS data underestimated the economic and environmental benefits of increased fuel standards. Specifically, EPA urged NHTSA to carefully consider projections for fuel prices that will be more realistic and higher for the final EIS; hence suggesting that more fuel efficient vehicles are more economical. In the EIS, NHTSA estimated that the price of gasoline would be $2.45 in 2015.

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed comments Aug. 18 on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) draft environmental impact statement (EIS) in support of the proposed increase in corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. However, the EPA suggested that the Department of Transportation’s proposed increase is not sufficiently stringent, stating that the EIS data underestimated the economic and environmental benefits of increased fuel standards. Specifically, EPA urged NHTSA to carefully consider projections for fuel prices that will be more realistic and higher for the final EIS; hence suggesting that more fuel efficient vehicles are more economical. In the EIS, NHTSA estimated that the price of gasoline would be $2.45 in 2015.

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From an environmental perspective, the EPA pointed out that NHTSA’s $7-per-ton of CO2 emitted estimate to gauge the social cost of CO2 emissions was too low, and failed to account for the international impact of emissions. The purpose of NHTSA’s EIS is to comply with the Energy Independence Security Act, which requires fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks to be 35 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2020, up from the current level of 25 mpg. EPA and many activists groups believe that standard should be met by 2015.

EPA’s comments or NHTSA’s Draft EIS can be viewed by clicking here.

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