U.S. Gets Tougher Fuel Economy Rules: New Vehicles Must Average 49 MPG by 2026

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In what sounds like a loss for Americans who prefer buying gas guzzlers, the USDOT has announced new fuel economy standards that aim to improve the efficiency of future vehicles, trim emissions, and reduce consumer spending at the pump. Starting in 2026, all new vehicles produced must be able to average at least 49 miles per gallon of gas, a considerable increase over the previous MPG standard, according to a press release shared by the NHTSA. This is expected to reduce fuel use by more than 200 billion gallons over the next few decades.

USDOT Announces New Vehicle Fuel Economy Standards for Model Year 2024-2026 (NHTSA)

The new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards require an industry-wide fleet average of approximately 49 mpg for passenger cars and light trucks in model year 2026, the strongest cost savings and fuel efficiency standards to date. The new standards will increase fuel efficiency 8% annually for model years 2024-2025 and 10% annually for model year 2026. They will also increase the estimated fleetwide average by nearly 10 miles per gallon for model year 2026, relative to model year 2021.

Strong fuel economy standards strengthen U.S. energy independence and help reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Since CAFE was signed into law in 1975, the standards have reduced American oil consumption by 25%, or approximately 5 million barrels a day since then.

The new CAFE standards for model year 2024-26 will reduce fuel use by more than 200 billion gallons through 2050, as compared to continuing under the old standards.

Increasing vehicle efficiency and reducing fuel use will save American families and consumers money at the pump. Americans purchasing new vehicles in 2026 will get 33% more miles per gallon as compared to 2021 vehicles. This means new car drivers in 2026 will only have to fill up their tanks three times as compared to every four times that new car drivers today do for the same trips.

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Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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