Tailpipe rule may keep Biden in automakers’ good graces

By Mike Lee | 06/10/2024 06:29 AM EDT

The administration’s new fuel efficiency standard isn’t as strict as originally proposed.

Traffic inches along Interstate 270 in Clarksburg, Maryland.

Traffic inches along Interstate 270 in Clarksburg, Maryland. Carolyn Kaster/AP

In scaling back its latest rule for tailpipe emissions, the Biden administration may have gained a critical ally — U.S. automakers.

The regulation announced Friday would force carmakers to improve the fuel efficiency of their vehicles, to a fleetwide average of about 50 mpg in model year 2031. That’s more than current guidelines, but less than the original proposal of nearly 58 mpg in model year 2032.

The weakened rule drew criticism from some environmentalists, but it appears to have mollified the concerns of major American carmakers. The backpedal on fuel efficiency is the third time in the last year the Biden administration has softened its plans to address climate pollution in the auto sector.


“For today, the administration appears to have landed on a [Corporate Average Fuel Economy] rule that works with the other recent federal tailpipe rules,” said John Bozzella, president of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation.