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Automotive Industry: A Research Guide

Industry Regulations

A standing still accident.... c. 1920. American National Red Cross photograph collection. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

United States federal regulations related to the automotive industry include safety, fuel, and pollution. Most motor vehicle driving laws and driver licensing are set at the state level, and are out of scope for this guide. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency within the Department of Transportation, is responsible for vehicle safety and publishes the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways. While the Environmental Protection Agency regulates vehicle emissions, the NHTSA produces the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.

In addition to vehicle safety and fuel standards and regulations, the federal government impacts automotive manufacturing and imports through international trade agreements and tariffs. The United-States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which went into effect in 2021 replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), sets manufacturing rules of origin. These limit where a majority of a vehicle is assembled. Other climate and anti-pollution agreements, like the European Commission's Green Deal can impact the automotive industry by regulating fuel production, while some countries set national goals to increase electric vehicles, often supported by various financial incentives for manufacturers.

Safety Regulations

The following websites and books provide information on safety regulations.

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.

Trade Regulations

The following websites provide information on trade regulations.

Fuel Regulation

The following websites and books provide information fuel regulations.

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.