EESI Comments on Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards

Source: By Jessie Stolark, EESI • Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2017

On October 5, EESI submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on their midterm evaluation of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for light-duty vehicles. These standards seek to gradually improve the average fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks that are manufactured in the United States. The midterm evaluation (2022 – 2025) was previously finalized under the Obama administration. In March, the Trump administration announced it would be reconsidering whether the standards “are appropriate under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act,” signaling the administration’s interest in potentially weakening the standards.

In its comments, EESI responded specifically to the agencies’ request for information on “the impact of the standards on advanced fuels technology, including but not limited to the potential for high-octane blends.” These fuels reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the need for toxic aromatics, and allow for smaller, more efficient engines with a higher compression ratio.  While increasing the number of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in the fleet remains crucial, research has demonstrated that a high-octane, low carbon fuel is the lowest cost CAFE compliance option available today. EESI outlined the steps the administration could immediately take to ensure the viability of these fuels, and in so doing, retain a stringent CAFE standard that cost-effectively improves energy efficiency and reduces greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the near-term.