Policy update

Notice of Intent, GHG and CAFE standards for MY 2017–25 LDVs

The U.S. EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have jointly issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) to develop new greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for light-duty vehicles in model years 2017 to 2025. The document is online here; a PDF version (Federal Register) is here.

The NOI lays out initial scenarios for fleet-wide GHG and fuel economy targets based on 3% and 6% annual reduction rates and assesses the technology pathways and costs associated with the targets. A joint proposed rulemaking is anticipated in September 2011, with a final rule expected by July 2012.

Key points

Stringency and fuel savings. The agencies analyzed four potential GHG targets, representing annual decreases in GHG levels of 3–6% from the MY 2016 fleet average of 250 g/mi, and their equivalent fuel economy levels. The agencies also estimated total fuel and CO2-equivalent reductions.

Technological pathways and costs. The NOI considers four technology pathways for meeting the targets in these scenarios. A specific mix of advanced gasoline technologies, mass reduction, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles defines each pathway. Preliminary estimated per-vehicle cost increases for MY2015 ranged from $770 to $3,500 across the range of stringency targets and technology pathways. But the lifetime fuel savings ranged from $5,930 to $10,200, resulting in an overall lifetime savings of $5,000 to $7,400, for a payback period of 1.4 to 4.2 years.

Regulatory structure and compliance. The agencies plan to continue to index standards to vehicle footprint, but will review the need for separate standards for passenger cars and trucks (as in the MY2012–2016 standards). For EVs and PHEVs, the treatment of upstream emissions generated in the production of electricity and other fuel sources in GHG compliance calculations is an important issue; the agencies plan to evaluate GHG-reduction potentials based on commercialization levels of EVs, PHEVs, and FCVs and the outlook for upstream GHG control programs.

The charts here [PDF] compare the targets in the NOI with long-term standards enacted, proposed, and under discussion in other regions.

Next steps

EPA and NHTSA will issue a supplemental NOI by the end of November. The supplement will describe design elements of the national program and will include updated analysis on GHG/FE standards for 2017-2025. Among the principal goals will be to narrow the range of stringency levels being considered and to reflect new technical data and analysis supplementing the Interim Joint Technical Assessment Report (TAR).