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Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Final Rule Rollout

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Remarks As Prepared for Delivery by
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao
Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Final Rule Rollout
Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Good morning and thank you for joining us. I want to thank EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and his team for working with the Department of Transportation on the completion of the SAFE Vehicles Rule.  And let me note Acting NHTSA Administrator James Owens and his team for their work on this very important issue. 

Three years ago, President Trump pledged to autoworkers and consumers that he would reinvigorate American auto manufacturing by updating formerly costly, increasingly unachievable fuel economy and vehicle CO2 emissions standards.

Today, the President and his administration are keeping that promise, releasing the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule. We estimate that this historic update to fuel economy standards will:

1.     save thousands of lives, 
2.     prevent hundreds of thousands of injuries,
3.     Make new vehicles more affordable to consumers & their families,  
4.    grow our economy. 

In essence, it will make newer vehicles more affordable to consumers, safer for passengers, and cleaner for the environment. It’s a win/win/win.

The SAFE Vehicles Rule sets the next generation of fuel economy standards for our Nation’s new vehicles. These standards are reasonable, realistic, and achievable, and reflect the fact that times and technology have changed since the previous rule in 2012.

This rule will save hundreds of billions of dollars in regulatory costs and total vehicle lifetime costs over the next decade. And our estimates show that these changes will save consumers more than $1,000 per vehicle in the price tag alone. This means millions of new vehicles will be sold and this will be good for the economy as well.  

This rule reflects the Department’s #1 priority—safety—by helping make newer, safer, cleaner vehicles more affordable.  By putting more Americans in these newer vehicles, we can ultimately save about 3,300 lives. And thanks to advanced vehicle technologies, these standards will also help prevent 397,000 injuries and avoid about 1.8 million vehicle crashes.  That’s wonderful news!

The SAFE Vehicles Rule reflects the realities of today’s market: lower oil prices, increased U.S. oil production, growing consumer demand for larger vehicles, rising prices and an aging U.S. fleet.  In fact, with the average age of vehicles now being nearly 12 years old, it is the oldest in U.S. history!

By making these newer, safer, and cleaner vehicles more affordable for American families, we will save lives, create jobs, and pave the way for a brighter future. 

So thank you again. It is now my pleasure to hand it off to Administrator Wheeler who will now discuss the environmental aspects of this rule…. Administrator Wheeler: 

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