U.S. to Require New Vehicles to Average 49 MPG by 2026

By Paul Riegler on 2 April 2022
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The 2022 Volkswagen was rated at 29 mpg in city driving and 39 on the highway.

The U.S. Department of Transportation unveiled new requirements for fuel economy that mandate a 49 mpg (4.8 l/100 km) fleet-wide average by 2026.

The action in the so-called CAFE or Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards was announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and  Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on Friday.

“When these standards take effect, Americans buying a new vehicle will spend less on gas than they would have if we hadn’t taken this step,” Buttigieg said at a news conference in Washington, D.C  announcing the change.

“We estimate that today’s rule will prevent 5.5 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide from going into our atmosphere between now and 2050.”

The current average fuel economy of a 2021 new car sold in the United States is 36 mpg and the new standards will increase that by 33%, Buttigieg said.

The new CAFE standards will go into effect in 2024 and will require automakers to improve fuel-efficiency by 8% annually for the 2024 and 2025 model years.  For 2026, the figure will rise to 10%.

The rules are intended to lower the  amount of money people spend on fuel thanks to the improved gas mileage as well as reduce emissions.  While a new car in 2029 will cost approximately $1,087 more because of the additional costs to make the vehicles more fuel efficient, the buyer will likely spend $1,400 less on fuel over the life of the vehicle, the NHTSA said.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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