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Penalties for greedy vehicles: the NHTSA tightens the screw

In addition to the new emission standards for GHG soon to be imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States, the NHTSA (for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) is tightening the screw on its fuel economy standards. Indeed, automakers are facing a backlash of penalties for model years 2019 to 2021. New, even stricter penalties also come into effect for 2022.

This is actually the norm COFFEE, for Corporate Average Fuel Economy. This evaluates the fuel consumption of a manufacturer based on an average for its entire fleet of models.

As of this writing, the standard is set at 41.2 mpg (5.7 liters/100 kilometers) for cars and 30.4 mpg (7.8 liters/100 kilometers) for trucks light-duty vehicles, i.e. pickup trucks, vans, SUVs and commercial vans.

Until now, when a manufacturer exceeded these regulations, they were charged US$5.50 for each additional 0.1 mpg.

However, a rule stipulating that NHTSA will apply these penalties retroactively for model years 2019 through 2021 was passed on March 24. In other words, a new penalty will be imposed on manufacturers who have not complied with the standards during these years of marketing. We will therefore go from $5.50 to $14 US. And starting in 2022, automakers will have to pay US$15 for every additional 0.1 mpg.

2022 Ram 1500 TRX

Electric vehicle manufacturers spared

Obviously, these penalties only affect manufacturers who market thermal engine vehicles. An electric vehicle manufacturer, like Tesla, does not have to worry about such standards. Moreover, manufacturers who succeed in meeting the requirements are rewarded with carbon credits which they can then sell to other manufacturers.

See also:   Test bench | Toyota Tundra 2022: measured ambitions

In 2016, when U.S. President Donald Trump froze penalties to help the auto industry, it testified that raising tariffs to $14 could lead to an increase of $1 billion in extra spending for the car industry. ‘industry. And according to what we learn through the media Automotive Newsthese new tariffs could cost a manufacturer like Stellantis up to $572 million in penalties.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

All of this, of course, is intended to discourage manufacturers from marketing fuel-guzzling vehicles, while motivating the development of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles in order to reduce greenhouse gases. But does such a strategy work? The history of the automobile has shown us that manufacturers are quite capable of cashing in such penalties.

As proof, in most cases, they do not even meet the current standards established by the EPA in terms of GHG emissions. They get away with paying huge penalties that end up on the consumer’s bill. Shouldn’t the American and Canadian governments instead impose a bonus-malus principle that penalizes the consumer, as in Europe? The question is valid.


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