Court Rejects Revised Fuel Economy Standards for Light Trucks

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has rejected revised fuel economy standards by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for light duty trucks (including SUVs and pickups), holding that the standards failed to address the benefits of carbon dioxide emissions reductions (Center for Biological Diversity v. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Case No. 06-71891 (9th Cir., November 15, 2007)).

Tossing out the new standards under the “arbitrary and capricious” standard, the Ninth Circuit further criticized NHTSA for failing to account for the monetary value of carbon emissions, not setting a “backstop” measure to prevent manufacturers from producing large numbers of vehicles that use more fuel, and failing to set standards for vehicles in the 8,500 to 10,000 pound weight class. The rule has been sent back to the NHTSA for revisions along with a directive to conduct a new environmental impact statement for the regulation.