The Biden Administration has proposed new federal standards to mandate improved fuel efficiency in cars and other vehicles. This proposal joins previous Biden proposals to increase electric vehicles as part of the administration’s plan to significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions each year.
The new proposal by the Transportation Department would mandate that automobile manufacturers will need to improve the average mileage of all vehicles they produce. It would require car manufacturers to improve car mileage by 2 percent each year and truck mileage by 4 percent. As a federal agency, the proposal does not have to pass through Congress.
The Transportation Department’s plan builds on proposed guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s in April to cap the total emissions from each manufacturer — effectively forcing them to produce more all-electric vehicles. The EPA’s proposal is based on the decades-old Clean Air Act.
Alongside these two proposals, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that it will be raising its fuel efficiency requirements by 8% this year and by 10% in 2026. These combined effects are expected to bring about positive environmental change.
If the Transportation Department follows through on its plans, automakers must shift to producing more all-electric vehicles to comply with regulations. This will lead to reduced greenhouse gas production, helping to slow the rate of temperature rising and improving air quality.
According to The New York Times, “The Transportation Department estimates that the proposal would reduce the use of gasoline in the United States by 88 billion gallons through 2050 and avert more than 900 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.”
However, the proposals face an uphill battle, as they are likely to be opposed by Republican groups who have historically opposed climate legislation. America’s complex legislative process and potential resistance by political groups may cause delays and legal challenges, which could mean that the fate of the rules will be left to the political landscape of the next administration.
How can you help?
Informing yourself is the most essential step of becoming an activist and fighting for what you believe is right.
As always, feel free to also read the articles listed in the citation section.
Writing to State Representatives
State representatives are meant to be the voice of the majority in their state and writing to them is an extremely vital step in advocacy. Below we have provided some links to assist you in doing so:
Extra steps you can take:
Joining Kids Fight Climate Change: If you are interested in making climate change information more accessible, you should consider joining us! Check out this link: Join the Team | Kids Fight Climate Change: Youth Climate Education
Volunteering at advocacy groups. VolunteerMatch is a great resource to find volunteer opportunities, virtual and in-person. Check out this link: VolunteerMatch
If neither of those options applies to you, there are still ways to raise awareness! Simply by sharing articles such as this one, you are doing your part to spread important climate information. That is activism.
CNBC. “Biden Administration Finalizes Tougher Fuel Economy Rules,” April 1, 2022. https://www.cnbc.com/2022/04/01/biden-administration-finalizes-tougher-fuel-economy-rules.html.
Davenport, Coral. “Biden Administration Moves to Tighten Fuel Economy Rules.” The New York Times, July 28, 2023, sec. Climate. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/28/climate/biden-fuel-economy-rules.html.
———. “E.P.A. Lays Out Rules to Turbocharge Sales of Electric Cars and Trucks.” The New York Times, April 12, 2023, sec. Climate. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/12/climate/biden-electric-cars-epa.html.
Domonoske, Camila. “Biden Administration Proposes New Fuel Economy Standards, with Higher Bar for Trucks.” NPR, July 28, 2023, sec. Business. https://www.npr.org/2023/07/28/1190799503/new-fuel-economy-standards-cars-trucks.