Open UROP positions:

CEEPR currently has the following positions open and is seeking interested candidates to work on the project.

Term: Fall/IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: MIT Energy Initiative - MIT CEEPR

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Christopher Knittel


Project TitleUncovering the discrepancies in estimates of compliance costs with fuel economy standards between the 2016 TAR and the 2018 NPRM


Following the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) set fuel standards to achieve a fleet-wide fuel economy of 35 mpg by 2016, and a projected 27 to 55 miles per gallon between 2012 and 2025. As part of the 2017-2025 standards issued by the agencies in 2012, the EPA and NHTSA were required to conduct a midterm review of the fuel economy improvements affecting model years 2022-2025. The 2016 technical assessment report (TAR) concluded that these 2022-2025 standards were technologically feasible, and that benefits far exceeded costs.

Recently, the Trump Administration in a 2018 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) finds that the costs of these Obama-era standards now exceed benefits, and proposes to freeze them at model year 2020 levels through 2025. 

In relation to the 2016 TAR, while the 2018 NPRM reports overall lower benefits, the major substantial change comes from the estimation of the costs of compliance with the standards. Specifically, compliance costs with the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard are 2.8 times higher in the 2018 proposal than the 2016 NHTSA analysis (and, in turn, even in the 2016, NHTSA projected compliance costs 2.6 times higher than the simulation models used by the EPA). And compliance costs with the GHG emissions standard are 7.5 times higher in the 2018 proposal, an increase from $35 billion in the 2016 TAR to $253 billion in the 2018 NPRM. 

The purpose of this project is to uncover the discrepancies that drive the differences in estimates of compliance costs with fuel economy standards between 2016 TAR and the 2018 NPRM.

 Full description of the project proposal can be found here.


Prerequisites: We are looking for UROP students seeking credit or a stipend (paid position), with a strong preference for students who would like to commit to at least 2 semesters of work, or more (starting date is flexible). Ideal candidates would be responsible, motivated and detail-oriented and would be able to spend at least 8-10 hours a week on the project.  The project may also involve writing reports for the topic above and other projects that may fit. Basic programming skills, especially in R and Matlab  are required. 


Contact: Interested students should send their resumes and a writing sample, if available, to