Buttigieg hints fuel economy standards will be ambitious

Source: By Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner • Posted: Sunday, July 11, 2021

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stressed the importance of strict fuel economy standards to clean up the transportation sector because, even as the U.S. shifts to more electric vehicles, gas-powered cars will still be on the roads for some time.

“No matter how good we get at” making electric cars affordable, there will still be gas-powered cars on the roads for a long time “even when no gas cars are being sold,” Buttigieg said.

Buttigieg, speaking at an event yesterday hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, didn’t offer many specifics about the administration’s fuel economy proposal, due out sometime this month, but he said that the statute directs the Transportation Department “to be ambitious.” The agency works with the EPA to set fuel economy and tailpipe emissions standards for passenger cars, an important administrative lever to drive emissions reductions in the transportation sector.

“We’re seeking to be as straightforward as we possibly can about the policy goals,” Buttigieg said, adding that the statute directs the Transportation Department to set standards at a “maximum feasible” level. The Biden administration undoubtedly has a very different view about what automakers can achieve than the Trump administration, which drastically weakened the standards.