EPA Fuel Economy Standards Are Getting Tougher: Here's The Payoff

It's not often we equate environmental activism with benefits to our own wallets, but with what's suggested by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s latest release, lower spending on your part might just be the result. The EPA's new standards for greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks' were released this week. These rules will apply to cars with internal combustion engines for Model Years (MY) 2023 through 2026. According to the EPA, the new emissions standards are achievable and affordable for the automotive industry and will help to pave the way to an all-electric and zero emissions future.

From an environmental perspective, the EPA estimates that the changes to emissions standards planned for MY 2025 and MY 2026 vehicles will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3 billion tons through 2050. This is equivalent to over half the total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in 2019.

The EPA also expects significant health benefits, particularly in vulnerable communities that are often positioned closer to highways and high pollution areas. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, vehicle smog that aggravates asthma, leads to reduced lung capacity, and increases susceptibility to illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis [U.S DoT].

Greener Cars will Mean More Greenbacks in Your Wallet

As many readers will be able to testify, the price of gasoline has spiked in recent times. In fact, the price of gas costs around 58 percent more now than it did a year ago. In November, the price of a gallon of gas was $3.49 which compares with just $2.20 in November 2020 [Pew Research Center].

In some genuinely good news for motorists, owners of new vehicles subject to the new emissions standards will collectively save between $210 billion and $420 billion through 2050 on fuel costs. For a MY 2026 vehicle, the total fuel savings will exceed an potential increase in vehicle cost by more than $1,000.

Overall, it's hard to see the EPA's new emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks as anything but a win for the public and car owners. The only losers, perhaps, are the oil giants who continue to scramble to diversify their assets and investments into clean energy solutions to help offset the expected decline in oil and gas demand over the coming decades [McKinsey].