New cars, new fuel economy rules: NHTSA announces 40 miles per gallon minimum for cars in 2026

President Joe Biden’s administration is setting new rules for vehicle fuel economy.

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Starting in 2026, new cars must meet the minimum of 40 miles per gallon of gas, The Associated Press reported.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made the announcement Friday morning.

The move readjusts a rollback of standards that President Donald Trump’s administration had enacted.

The regulation will be stepped up over the next few years from the current 24 miles per gallon for new vehicles this year, raising it by 8% in 2024 and 2025 and raising it by another 10% in the 2026 model year, the AP reported.

The 40 mpg standard is the maximum that car manufacturers can achieve over the next four years, NHTSA officials said. The move will reduce the consumption of gasoline by more than 220 billion gallons over the life of vehicles when the Biden administration’s regulations are compared to those from Trump’s administration, the AP reported.

Some environmentalists say the NHTSA’s announcement doesn’t go far enough to reduce or reverse global warming.

“Climate change has gotten much worse, but these rules only require automakers to reduce gas-guzzling slightly more than they agreed to cut nine years ago,” Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Transport Center at the Center for Biological Diversity, said, according to the AP.

The NHTSA said that while the new fuel economy rule would save drivers about $1,400 in fuel costs over a 2029 vehicle’s lifetime, and that carbon dioxide emissions would drop by 2.5 billion metric tons by 2050, it did not say how much the increased fuel economy would add on to the price tag of a new car, the AP reported.