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Consumer Reports statement on news reports of White House announcement on electric vehicles, fuel economy standards

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The White House is planning an announcement tomorrow about electric vehicles and fuel economy standards.  News reports indicate that President Biden and automobile executives will announce a goal of 50 percent of the new passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2030 to be zero-emission vehicles.  The President is also expected to announce new targets for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions for new cars and trucks, which were rolled back by the previous administration. 


Chris Harto, senior policy analyst for Consumer Reports, said, “The majority of car buyers tell us they want cleaner cars that save money on fuel, and we’re hopeful that these plans could put the nation back on track with better standards.  


“Based on the preliminary information, there’s reason to be optimistic that the White House is moving forward with a much stronger initiative for cleaner vehicles, but the specifics will matter. We’re going to need more information so we can dig into the data and see what the real-world benefits would be, and if there are any loopholes that would undermine the proposal’s potential. The first details suggest that this will be much stronger than some of the proposals that have been floated in recent weeks, and both consumers and the climate would be all the better for it, if that’s true.


“Electric vehicles can already save drivers $6,000 to $10,000 over the typical period of car ownership.  A recent CR survey shows that nearly 3 out of 4 drivers are interested in owning an electric vehicle, so we welcome the administration’s reported commitment to put the nation on a path to half of all new cars being electric by 2030,” Harto said. 


“A 50 percent EV target, if backed by regulation, would be good for consumers and the climate. However, such a requirement would need to be strong enough to deliver those EVs and savings for consumers who will still be buying gas-powered cars. CR analysis indicates that meeting the President’s climate commitments will require reducing new vehicle emissions 60 percent by 2030, which would bring consumer savings to well over one trillion dollars and cut greenhouse gas emissions by close to 10 gigatons,” Harto added.

A 2020 nationally representative Consumer Reports survey found that 94 percent of Americans who were planning to buy or lease a vehicle in the next two years said that fuel economy is important to them, with 64 percent saying that it was “extremely important” or “very important” to them when considering what vehicle to get next. Nearly three out of every four respondents said the federal government should continue to increase fuel economy standards, and that automakers have a responsibility to consumers to improve gas mileage.


Contact: David Butler, david.butler@consumer.org