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Transportation Dept. announces new fuel efficiency standards

Transportation Dept. announces new fuel efficiency standards
A gas station pump nozzle puts gasoline into a vehicle in Hoboken, N.J. on January 24, 2015. The White House announced new fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles on Friday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

April 1 (UPI) -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Friday new fuel economy standards, effectively rolling back more lenient rules for future vehicles set under President Donald Trump.

The new standards will require the model year 2026 passenger cars and light trucks to average about 49 miles per gallon, increasing fuel efficiency for model 2024-2015 vehicles by 8% and 10% annually for model 2026 vehicles.

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The announcement comes as U.S. residents are feeling the financial pinch at the gas pump. AAA said on Friday that the average price for a gallon of gas is hovering at a near-record $4.215, spurred partly by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Gasoline prices for a gallon of regular averaged $2.876 a year ago.

"Today's rule means that American families will be able to drive further before they have to fill up, saving hundreds of dollars per year," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.

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"These improvements will also make our country less vulnerable to global shifts in the price of oil, and protect communities by reducing carbon emissions by 2.5 billion metric tons."

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Steven Cliff, the NHTSA's deputy administrator said the new vehicles will serve the dual purpose of saving motorists money and will slow carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

"These vehicles will be better for the environment, safer than ever, and cost less to fuel over their lifetimes," Cliff said in a statement. "We are proud to fulfill President Biden's mission to move us to a more sustainable future, one that strengthens American energy independence and helps put more money in American families' pockets."

States led by conservative governors have been fighting White House climate change rules. Fifteen states have filed a lawsuit against the administration complaining it exceeded its authority in setting strict greenhouse gas emission rules against the U.S. Constitution's separation of powers.

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