States Try to Overturn New Federal Fuel Efficiency Standards
WASHINGTON — A lawsuit filed last week by predominantly Republican states says the U.S. Department of Transportation exceeded its authority with new stricter fuel efficiency standards for automobiles.
Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Texas and Utah are among states asking a federal court in Washington, D.C., to overturn National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards that require automakers to increase fuel efficiency by 8% annually for 2024 and 2025 cars and 10% by the 2026 model year.
The new standards, called corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, would mean U.S. automobiles reach an average fuel efficiency of 49 miles per gallon.
The state attorneys general say the new standards infringe on state sovereignty and carry a heavy economic burden for consumers.
The standards are supposed to be a nudge by the federal government toward electric vehicles, which come with higher price tags than cars with combustion engines.
“At a time when Americans are already struggling because of [President Joe] Biden’s inept policies and radical progressive agenda, NHTSA’s fuel standards will only create more concerns and saddle consumers with higher-priced electric vehicles,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “I will continue to fight back and challenge these unnecessary regulations that are unconstitutional and do more harm than good.”
The regulations, which took effect Friday, would improve on the 2021 model year fuel efficiency by an average of 10 miles per gallon. NHTSA said it would reduce U.S. fuel use by 200 billion gallons through 2050.
The new emission standards comply with an executive order from Biden shortly after he took office as president. He ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to review Trump administration standards that did not meet his own ecologically friendly agenda.
The states that sued NHTSA Friday were the same ones that sued the EPA in February over its greenhouse gas emission standards. They said the rules that allow less use of fossil fuels and use of coal to generate electricity are raising prices for consumers.
The EPA is trying to impose federal standards on emissions that were determined by state discretion under the Trump administration. The EPA is invoking authority under the Clean Air Act and other federal laws.
The lawsuit filed Friday is State of Texas et al. v. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration et al. in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Tom can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @tramstack.