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Consumer Reports: White House lays out promising fuel economy and emissions plans for new vehicles, but must close loopholes

  • CR urges White House to deliver on promise of 60% emissions reduction by 2030
  • Government’s own analysis indicates stronger standards without loopholes would save consumers more


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The White House today announced plans for expanding electric vehicles, as well as improving fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all new cars and trucks.  President Biden signed an executive order aimed at making half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 zero-emissions vehicles, while the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced notice of proposed rulemakings for vehicle emissions and fuel economy.


The independent, nonprofit Consumer Reports has been urging this administration to put strong standards in place for cleaner cars, after the previous administration rolled back standards.


Chris Harto, senior policy analyst for Consumer Reports, noted that the White House is pledging that today’s announcements put the U.S. on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger vehicle sales by more than 60 percent in 2030 compared to vehicles sold last year — a specific goal and timeframe that CR has been advocating.


Harto said, “We’re encouraged to see a push for new standards to help drivers spend less on gas, get more choices for clean vehicles, and reduce climate pollution.  There is an enormous amount of consumer interest in cars and trucks that cost less to fuel and produce less pollution. But this proposal includes new and expanded loopholes for automakers, which would undermine the topline promise of the proposal.”


Based on initial analysis by Consumer Reports, the one-year delay in standards plus the loopholes mean the proposal would deliver about 75 percent of the savings of the original standards established during the Obama-Biden administration. That’s a significant improvement over the rollback in the previous administration, but the loopholes are an unnecessary compromise, given EPA’s own analysis indicates that loopholes around electric vehicles would not deliver on their stated purpose of increasing their sales.


CR said there is a much better option in the proposal itself. The agency provides an alternative #2 that eliminates many of the loopholes, and includes slightly stronger standards. EPA’s analysis indicates that this would deliver greater savings than the proposed alternative.


Quinta Warren, associate director of sustainability policy for Consumer Reports, said, “The path forward for the administration is clear. They should shift to their alternative proposal, which would save consumers more money and put the nation back on track to the clean car future American drivers want and need.”   


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