The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday announced the release of its finalized standards for greenhouse gas emissions for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2023 – 2026, significantly raising its ambitions for emissions reductions over the prior standards.

According to the EPA, the new standards will unlock $190 billion in net benefits to Americans, including reducing climate pollution, improving public health. The agency also estimated that over the lifetime of an individual 2026 vehicle, fuel savings from the new rules will exceed the initial increase in vehicle costs by more than $1,000.

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EPA Administrator Michael Regan said:

“The final rule for light duty vehicles reflect core principles of this Administration: We followed the science, we listened to stakeholders, and we are setting robust and rigorous standards that will aggressively reduce the pollution that is harming people and our planet – and save families money at the same time.”

The Biden administration has put national climate goals at the center of its policy agenda, returning the U.S. to the Paris Agreement immediately upon taking office, and more recently introducing interim target announced by the President to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by 50-52% in 2030.

Reducing vehicle emissions will be key to achieving the administration’s climate goals, as transportation represents the single largest source of GHG emissions in the country, at 29% of all emissions, with passenger cars and trucks making up 58% of all transportation emissions. In August, President Biden signed an executive order mandating the development of long-term fuel efficiency and emissions standards and setting a target for zero emission vehicles to make up half of new vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2030.

The new EPA rules envision combined fleet-wide emissions falling to 161 CO2 grams/mile in 2026, down over 28% from 2022, and well below the prior 2026 target of 208 grams/mile. The EPA projected that the standards can be met with sales of approximately 17% of electric vehicles, including EVs and plug-in hybrids, by 2026.

Regan added:

“At EPA, our priority is to protect public health, especially in overburdened communities, while responding to the President’s ambitious climate agenda. Today we take a giant step forward in delivering on those goals, while paving the way toward an all-electric, zero-emissions transportation future.”