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US Proposes New Fuel-Economy Standards for Light Trucks and SUVs

Update: This post is superseded by a more detailed post here.

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta has unveiled the Administration’s proposal for a slight increase in the average fuel economy standards for light trucks. The standard of 27.5 miles a gallon (8.6 liters/100km) for cars doesn’t change under today’s proposal.

The increase will save consumers 10 billion gallons of fuel in the first three years, according to the Secretary. That works out to approximately a 2% reduction. (The EIA projects that by 2012, the US will be consuming some 211.9 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel per year.)

The biggest change is the creation of different size categories and associated fuel economy standards for light trucks.

Under the plan, automakers may opt to meet six separate standards based on truck size for 2008 through 2010 models or stay with a single fleet-wide target, which for 2006 models is 21.6 miles per gallon (10.9 l/100km). Automakers will be required to meet the six separate standards starting with 2011 models, when the target for minivans will also rise to 23.3 miles per gallon (10.1 l/100km).

The rule proposed today must be implemented by April to give automakers time to meet the new standards starting with 2008 models.

More detail and analysis to follow.



It sounds like a classic case of changing legislation and assuming that the current buying habits will remain the same. Bad assumption.

If they were breaking up the classes and the most inefficient class was required to meet the current 22.2 mpg -- and some subclasses were then required to do better, then I'd be all for it.

But, my sense is that what they're really up to is squeezing the mid-sized SUV, while giving the largest behemoths free reign to seek that all-elusive one mile per gallon rating.

Bah. I'm more than merely skeptical.

Joseph Willemssen

Another token, meaningless effort by the Oil Administration.

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