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Obama Proposes Significant Rise in Fuel-Efficiency Standards

Fleet average set at 35.5 mpg by 2016

 |  May 20 2009, 10:58 AM

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Yesterday President Obama announced a new proposal being put forward to increase fuel-economy standards across the board. If enacted, the legislation would see the fleet average for passenger vehicles rise to 35.5 mpg by 2016.

Currently automakers are facing an 8 percent increase in fuel-economy standards that would see fleet averages for light-vehicles (cars and trucks) at 27.3 mpg for 2011. Cars would have to achieve a fleet average of 30.2 mpg by that date.

The new legislation would see increases of 5 percent annually after that, with a fleet average of 35.5 mpg by 2016.

President Obama made the announcement at the White House yesterday and was joined by representatives of 10 supporting automakers and the UAW.  In attendance were GM CEO Fritz Henderson, Ford’s Alan Mullaly, Chrysler’s Bob Nardelli, Toyota’s Jim Lentz, Honda’s John Mendel, BMW’s Friedrich Eichiner, Nissan’s Dominique Thormann, Daimler’s Dieter Zetsche, Mazda’s Jim O’Sullivan, Volkswagen’s Stefan Jacoby and the UAW’s Ron Gettelfinger.

If enacted the proposal would reduce America’s fuel-consumption by 1.8 billion barrels of oil.

The agreement was arrived at with the consent of California, which will cease to have its own fuel-economy standards.

The cost of achieving the new fuel-economy standard is expected to be roughly $600 per vehicle, a tab that will no doubt be passed along to the consumer.

[Source: Automotive News]