San Jose: San José Joins Nationwide Coalition to Urge National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to Adopt Stronger Federal Fuel Economy Standards
The Californer/10160161

October 27, 2021

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Marcus Ismael, Communications Manager, Office of Mayor Sam Liccardo, 415.312.0706,

SAN JOSÉ, CA – This week, the City of San José joined a coalition of 22 states, six cities, and the District of Columbia in supporting the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's (NHTSA) proposal to increase the stringency of corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for model year 2024-2026 vehicles. Under the Energy Policy Conservation Act, NHTSA is required to set standards to improve fuel economy and reduce the energy consumption of passenger cars and light-duty trucks to the maximum extent feasible. Strong fuel economy standards have saved consumers hundreds of dollars, reduced harmful emissions, and helped protect the health of our communities. In today's comment letter, the coalition argues that NHTSA's proposed standards – unlike the Trump-era rules the coalition is currently challenging in court – are supported by science, reason, and the law.

"San José has long been at the leading edge of adapting and innovating in the face of the challenges climate change presents and that includes pursuing ever more efficient use of the limited resources we have," said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo. "In joining this call on the NHTSA to embrace stronger vehicle fuel economy standards, our city continues to lead the charge for climate resilience."

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act requires NHTSA to establish "maximum feasible" fuel economy standards and to consider "technological feasibility, economic practicability, the effect of other motor vehicle standards of the Government on fuel economy, and the need of the United States to conserve energy" in doing so. Under the Trump Administration, NHTSA abdicated this responsibility with its so-called "SAFE" rules, which rolled back the nation's Clean Car Standards. The changes to the CAFE standards alone were expected to "result in 1.9 to 2.0 additional billion barrels of fuel consumed," and reverse consumer savings through increased fuel expenditure. All in all, NHTSA estimated that the net benefits of their final rules "straddle[d] zero."

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In comments to the House Subcommittee on Environment in 2019, Mayor Liccardo spoke in favor of maintaining California's comprehensive set of strong fuel economy standards by opposing the Trump Administration's revocation of the 2013 Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) waiver to the California Air Resources Board which allows the state to set its own standards. In San José alone, 63% of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation alone, but California's higher-than-national standards have helped to improve fuel efficiency and incentivize the purchase of electric vehicles. This has led to San José boasting the highest number of public EV charging stations per capita in the nation and the third-highest amount of total EVs on the road with 73,810 as of 2021. This is in addition to a 12% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions citywide in the prior three-year period.

The coalition expressed their strong support for NHTSA's proposal to set more stringent fuel economy standards for model years 2024 to 2026. Improved fuel economy saves consumers money; counters climate change; improves air quality; and benefits public health. Studies also show that air pollution may increase the individuals' vulnerability to contracting COVID-19 and may increase the severity of, and mortality risk from, infection with the virus. Importantly, the impacts of NHTSA's proposed standards are likely to be magnified in low-income communities and communities of color, who are often located in transportation corridors and are disproportionately burdened by pollution and the resulting health consequences.

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The City of San José joins the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia, as well as the cities of Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, and San Francisco in filing the letter.

A copy of the letter can be found here.


About the City of San José

With more than one million residents, San José comprises the 10th largest city in the United States, and one of its most diverse cities.  San José's transformation into a global innovation center in the heart of Silicon Valley has resulted in the world's greatest concentration of technology talent and development.

Filed Under: Government, City

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