New NHTSA Fuel Economy Regulations for Drivers!

New NHTSA Gas Economy Rules

Understandably, stricter Gas-economy criteria issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) earlier this month have caused some uncertainty.

By the model year 2026, higher efficiency criteria are expected to result in a fleetwide of 49 miles per gallon for new cars and light trucks.

However, that explains little about the changes in the standards for the average new-car customer as the decade progresses. Gas

Here are the major highlights:

  • The (NHTSA) has announced that by 2029, necessary average Gas economy estimates will be increased to 49 mpg, but that doesn’t imply your next new vehicle will achieve that level of efficiency.
  • According to the (NHTSA), the regulation change would result in a $960 price increase on new 2029 model-year vehicles. On the other hand, the overall Gas savings from a higher Gas economy will be $1280. So finally, new cars might cost around $320 less to buy and own by the end of the decade.
  • Another way to look about it, as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg put it, is if you fill up four times a month now, you’ll only need to fill up three times a month if you drive one of these more Gas-efficient vehicles.
New NHTSA Gas Economy
New NHTSA Gas Economy


There is a link between a vehicle’s CAFE rating and the Gas-economy estimates written on a vehicle’s window sticker.

We wrote a decade ago when President Obama announced the largest Corporate Average Gas Economy (CAFE) rise. “Real-world Gas economy is often 20-30% lower than the predicted statutory CAFE level,” according to the NHTSA.

The NHTSA’s standards call for an average annual gain in Gas efficiency of 8% for model years 2024 and 2025 and then 10% for the model year 2026.

“Ultimate fleetwide thresholds will vary depending on the mix of vehicles that industry develops for sale in particular model years,” the NHTSA stated in the preamble to the regulations.

“For example, buyers won’t witness an 8% increase in mpg between the Hyundai Kona 2023 and 2024, but these higher standards will be met gradually by the 2029 model year.

New NHTSA Gas Economy
New NHTSA Gas Economy

” In acknowledging that manufacturers do not entirely comply with CAFE criteria in each model year, the NHTSA allows automakers to “continue working out compliance solutions for the regulated model years for three model years after the last regulated model year,” according to the agency.

The NHTSA’s 1230-page paper on the new Gas economy requirements contains many verbiages explaining what the agency may and cannot do with these “compliance solutions.

” One source of contention for proponents of stricter requirements is that the government continues to use a footprint-based technique to calculate a company’s average fleet economy.

For decades, CAFE requirements have divided “passenger vehicles” and “light trucks,” but new criteria were established for the 2012 model year that put us on the footprint-based road.

The previous rules have their own set of issues. Despite sharing a base with the Dodge Neon, the Chrysler PT Cruiser was classified as a light truck and thus subject to less strict mileage regulations.

Because the PT Cruiser comfortably exceeded the truck’s mpg criteria, Chrysler had greater leeway in making other vehicles in its lineup at the timeless Gas-efficient than they would have been in the PT Cruiser had been classified as a car.

New NHTSA Gas Economy
New NHTSA Gas Economy

The NHTSA now uses the “footprint” technique, defined by the four spots where the tires contact the ground or wheelbase times track width.

The NHTSA states in its document that it is bound by regulations that “[require] vehicles of varying sizes (footprints) to have different CO2 targets” and that these rules mean that the average Gas-economy standards each company must meet are determined by the footprints found in the mix of vehicles it produces.

NHTSA is required by law to regulate cars using features that can “be stated in the form of a mathematical function,” and determining that a gussied-up Neon is genuinely a truck is undoubtedly more mathematical.

The Center for Automotive Research explained the system’s overall benefits in 2017.

“The footprint model is meant to motivate manufacturers to improve the efficiency of all light vehicles, regardless of size,” CAR stated.

“This is a significant improvement over the non-attributed based average technique used before 2012.

As a result, companies could balance a product portfolio between small gas-efficient automobiles and more effective, less Gas-efficient vehicles using the non-attribute-based intermediate technique.

The non-attribute-based average method, on the other hand, did not always lead to manufacturers optimizing Gas efficiency for larger vehicles.

Instead, it may have prioritized Gas efficiency. Despite the benefits of the footprint-based methodology, the NHTSA concedes that there is still an issue.

Because final model-year production figures determine each manufacturer’s Gas-economy standards, and because, as the NHTSA points out, “generally, larger vehicles (i.e., vehicles with larger footprints) will be subject to lower mpg targets than smaller vehicles,” there is still a benefit for automakers to build larger vehicles because they don’t have to be as efficient. with smaller, lower-cost cars, often at steep discounts.”

Whatever the exact sticker number for new vehicles under these new standards ends up being, the future automobiles will have improved Gas economy due to the new rule announced this week, which should mean drivers will spend less money at the pump.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg explained how the new restrictions would benefit drivers during the announcement ceremony.

“The standard in today’s model year ’21 autos is 36 miles per gallon,” he stated. “It will be over 48 by 2026. So there’s a 33 percent increase, which implies that if you’re filling up four times a month now, you’ll be filling up three times a month by model-year 2026, based on those statistics, saving average American households hundreds of dollars.

” Buttigieg went on to say that the new rules benefit “every driver in America,” but that “it’s a huge gain for drivers in rural regions, where folks travel greater distance every day and fill up more frequently.”

For the same reason, there will be variations in the price of the new vehicle. NHTSA’s estimations for the final rule “predict significantly bigger MSRP increases for light trucks and smaller increases for passenger automobiles,” unsurprising.

According to the NHTSA, the average 2029-model-year vehicle will cost $960 more than the average car today (expect to see more stories about cars getting more expensive).

Still, the lifetime Gas savings will be $1280, meaning buyers will save an average of $320 thanks to these more Gas-efficient vehicles.

The NHTSA admitted that it could have pushed for even stricter restrictions but that doing so would have resulted in a cost increase of more than $2000 per car.

According to the agency, the compromise numbers chosen by NHTSA for the new guidelines were the “maximum feasible,.”

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New NHTSA Gas Economy Rules
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