National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Releases Extremely Ambitious CAFE Standards

Lindsay Mitchell

Aug 03, 2023  |  Today's News |  ICGA |  Ethanol

Last week, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a proposal that would require an industry fleet-wide average of approximately 58 miles per gallon for cars and light duty trucks by model year 2032, as well as a 10 percent increase in fuel efficiency for heavy-duty trucks and vans year over year.


The ambitious goal was included in NHTSA’s new proposal for Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards or CAFE standards. CAFE standards regulate how far passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks must travel on one gallon of fuel. The agency is also responsible for regulating fuel consumption standards for heavy duty trucks and engines.


According to the, the proposed fuel economy standards are written to complement and align with the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently proposed emissions standards for similar vehicle fleets. Read more about the EPA’s proposal, essentially a defacto electric vehicle mandate, here.


Automobile manufacturers have long advocated for EPA rulemaking and NHTSA rulemakings to align. When the two are in opposition to each other, achieving the goals of both while making vehicles that consumers want to purchase can be extremely difficult. However, some auto companies have already been outspoken about the tailpipe emissions rule released by the EPA on April 12, 2023 as too aggressive and unachievable. A NHTSA rulemaking in concert with the impractical EPA agenda is concerning.


One point of agreement for IL Corn in the NHTSA proposal is the idea that all fuel technologies may compete to meet the steep efficiency goal they have set.


“Though NHTSA does not take electric and other alternative fuels into account in setting the standards, manufacturers may use all available technologies – including advanced internal combustion engines, hybrid technologies and electric vehicles – for compliance,” states their news release.


While it’s certain that a free and competitive market open to all available fuels will create the type of innovation in fuel technologies capable of achieving these goals, farmers remain skeptical of the aggressive timeline outlined in NHTSA’s proposal.