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Consumer Reports to EPA: Strong standards for cleaner cars will help lower consumer costs, reduce emissions, protect the climate, improve public health

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Consumer Reports (CR) today filed formal comments, along with more than 18,000 consumer petition signatures, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to the agency’s proposal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from new cars and light-duty trucks for model years 2027 through 2032.

The nonprofit consumer organization supports this effort to set strong multi-pollutant emissions standards for light- and medium-duty vehicles, which will lower the cost of transportation for American families, reduce emissions, and protect the climate and public health. 

CR said the EPA’s proposed standards are achievable, cost effective, and aligned with market trends and consumer demand for cleaner, more affordable vehicles. The agency should not bow to outside pressure to weaken these rules, CR said, and should instead finalize a strong rule that puts the needs of consumers and the environment first. In its comments, CR is recommending that the EPA finalize the strongest possible standards, at least as strong as its Alternative 1 proposal.  

Key takeaways from new original analysis presented in CR’s comments include:

  • CR’s modeling finds that an EV-only compliance pathway for EPA’s proposed standards would only result in enough EVs being manufactured for about 25% of Americans to own one. A 2022 CR survey found that 36% of Americans would“definitely” or “seriously consider” an electric vehicle if they were to buy or lease a vehicle today, indicating that consumer demand may already exceed what is needed to comply with these standards.
  • EPA’s proposal provides automakers with a wide diversity of compliance pathways, and most automakers will be able to comply by building only 50-60% battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in 2032, which is already in line with most automakers’ existing commitments.
  • Automakers that invest heavily in hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology can comply while building as few as 40% BEVs.
  • Updated analysis on EV ownership costs found that the 6 mainstream EVs that currently qualify for the Inflation Reduction Act tax credit can save consumers money in the first year of ownership when financed.
  • Overall these 6 vehicles will save the average owner $6,000-$12,000 in lifetime ownership costs compared to comparable conventional gasoline powered vehicles (see chart here)