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February 28, 2014

NHTSA Proposal Would Promote Alternative Fuels


On February 20, 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) proposed rule on "Alternative Fuel Vehicle Badging, Fuel Compartment Labels and Consumer Information on Alternative Fuel Usage" was published in the Federal Register. Comments are due to NHTSA by April 21, 2014. A copy of the proposed rule is available online.

The proposed rule would require badges, labels, and owner's manual information for new passenger cars, low speed vehicles (LSV), and light-duty trucks rated at not more than 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight in order to increase consumer awareness regarding the use and benefits of alternative fuels. It would require manufacturers to identify each vehicle capable of running on an alternative fuel by means of a permanent and prominent display affixed to the exterior of the vehicle; add proposed text describing the capabilities and benefits of using alternative fuels to the owners' manuals provided for alternative fuel vehicles; and identify each vehicle that is capable of running on an alternative fuel by means of a label in the fuel filler compartment.

NHTSA reportedly believes the rule will help increase the use of alternative fuels in light-duty vehicles, while helping to decrease harmful greenhouse gas emissions as directed under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). These goals are also consistent with the intent of the federal RFS, which was enhanced under EISA. The RFS is designed to encourage the increased production and use of renewable fuels to 36 billion gallons by 2022.