The Obama administration has submitted a proposal that by 2025, it will impose a doubling of auto fuel efficiency ratings to 54.5 miles per gallon. Congress has been criticizing what White House refers to as an energy priority. This plan stemmed from a deal entered last spring between the administration, automakers and environmental groups to lessen U.S. dependence on oil imports and to reduce tailpipe emissions. The regulators aim for this proposal to be wrapped up in the summer after a 60-day public comment period.
Obama plans to grant the industry a five-year period when they could develop fuel-saving technologies and plan products before the rule starts taking effect in 2017. In a statement, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that this program saves money as well as ensures that they have the “regulatory certainty” to make major choices.
The existing standards mean that automakers have to improve efficiency from 27 mpg today to 35.4 mpg by 2016. The targets starting in 2017 would need a 5% annual fuel efficiency improvement for cars and annual gains of 3.5 to 5% for light trucks, SUVs, pickups and vans. The fuel agreement was signed by 13 major automakers, like General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Fiat SpA affiliate Chrysler Group, Toyota Motor Corp., and Honda Motor Co. President Obama has turned auto fuel efficiency a signature environmental and energy priority as cars and trucks make up about 20% of carbon emissions and over 40% of the oil consumption in the U.S. [source: BusinessWeek]