Bush administration sets schedule for CAFE standards

| Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Bush administration announced on Tuesday, April 22, a proposed schedule for meeting the car and light truck fuel efficiency standards that were passed by Congress in 2007.

Those standards require that vehicle manufacturers achieve a fleet-wide average of more than 35 miles per gallon by the year 2020.

Transportation Secretary Mary Peters unveiled a proposal from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which would require that fleets average 25 miles per gallon in 2010, increasing to 35.7 miles per gallon by 2015.

A schedule for meeting the 2020 goal of 35 miles per gallon is expected to be set in the future.

Under the proposed rule, which had not yet been published in the Federal Register when Peters announced it, the fuel economy on a fleet-wide basis would increase by an average of 4.5 percent annually through 2015 – a 25 percent improvement over five years. That standard exceeds the 3.3 percent average annual increase needed to reach the target passed by Congress last year.

For passenger cars, it would mean increasing fuel economy from the current 27.5 miles per gallon standard to an industry average of 35.7 miles per gallon by 2015. For light trucks, the proposal calls for increases from 23.5 miles per gallon in 2010 to 28.6 miles per gallon in 2015.

Peters said that, all told, the proposal will save nearly 55 billion gallons of fuel over the lifetime of the vehicles affected, which is those in model years 2011 through 2015.

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