New Federal Fuel Rules Expected Soon, California Poised to Benefit

Stricter fuel standards for cars and light trucks could bring tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to the Golden State, one report says.

Gabriel Bouys

In July, when the Obama Administration announced a plan for strict new fuel efficiency standards that would require a fleet-wide average for cars and light trucks of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, the sustainable business non-profit CERES reported the move would create nearly 500,000 new jobs nationwide.

“The new jobs will be related directly to the auto industry, and there will be additional jobs because consumers will have more money to spend because they will be saving on fuel,” said Carol Lee Rawn, director of the transportation program at CERES.

July was a preliminary announcement. The EPA is expected to release official targets later this month.  Final rules are not expected until next July.

In anticipation of the EPA announcement, CERES is making the case that not only will stricter standards benefit the nation as a whole, but they will also spur economic growth in 49 individual states. Only Wyoming may suffer a net loss from the new rules, said Rawn, according to data from  their report “More Jobs per Gallon,” originally released in July.

The picture for California looks particularly good, said Rawn.

“California is a large state, so there are lots of opportunities there,” she said. “And California is a leader in advanced vehicle technology so it stands to benefit that way as well.”

Specifically, the study finds that:

  • the 54.5 mpg standard would create more than 57,300 new jobs in California, putting the state in first place in terms of jobs created.
  • the 54.5 mpg standard would boost California’s GDP by about $3.67 billion.

Governor Brown has praised the tougher standards proposed by the Administration back in July.

California is playing a major role in developing the new federal standards. Last year the state had been poised to announce its own rules for model years 2017-2025, but in January the Air Resources Board agreed to a shared deadline with the federal government. Since then, officials from CARB have been working with federal agencies, automakers, and environmental groups to develop the new rules.