EPA targets 62 mpg fuel economy average for cars, light trucks

As had been expected, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Dept. of Transportation (DOT) proposed new fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks today. The proposal could boost fuel economy to as much as 62 mpg for vehicles by 2025

As had been expected, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Dept. of Transportation (DOT) proposed new fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks today. The proposal could boost fuel economy to as much as 62 mpg for vehicles by 2025.

The proposals do not include fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks. An EPA spokesperson told Fleet Owner those were not going to be announced today. The Associated Press reported that heavy-duty rules for 2014 model-year trucks would be reported soon.

“A fuel economy standard of 60 mpg by 2025 would be a big win for American consumers,” said Mark Cooper, director of research for the Consumer Federation of America, an association of nearly 300 non-profit consumer organizations. “It will give them what they want — clean, fuel efficient cars that take them farther on a dollar and curb our appetite for expensive oil that often comes from countries that don't like us.

EPA said it was filing a Notice of Intent (NOI) and that an updated NOI would be released on Nov. 30, 2010. Before then, the organization will seek input on the proposed standards as well as seek additional guidance and analysis before determining final standards.

“We will continue to work with automakers, environmentalists and other stakeholders to encourage standards that reduce our addiction to foreign oil, save money for American drivers, and clean up the air we breathe,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

EPA has proposed an increase between 3 and 6% for model-year 2025 cars and light trucks. That would put the average fuel economy between 47 and 62 mpg. In April, the Obama Administration completed new fuel regulations for passenger vehicles that will require a 30% decrease in carbon emissions and a 40% increase in auto fuel efficiency to 35 mpg between model years 2012 and 2016.

“We must, and we will, keep the momentum going to make sure that all motor vehicles sold in America are realizing the best fuel economy and greenhouse gas reductions possible,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Continuing the national program would help create a more secure energy future by reducing the nation’s dependence on oil, which has been a national objective since the first oil price shocks in the 1970s.”

Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, believes the proposals for 2017 and beyond could spur more automakers shifting to diesel engines.

“With new standards being developed to substantially increase fuel economy, the diesel engine will be even more attractive to drivers because of its high fuel efficiency that doesn’t sacrifice performance,” he said.

“For too long, weak fuel economy standards have cost consumers billions of dollars in savings,” Cooper said. “By setting a 60 mpg standard, the Obama Administration can help put those billions back in the pockets of consumers.”

“Sixty miles per gallon falls at the high end of the range of future standards contemplated by the Notice of Intent,” Cooper added. “We look forward to convincing the agencies that 60 mpg is technically feasible and economically practicable, as well as good for consumers and the nation.”

According to the DOT, cars, SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks are responsible for 57% of U.S. transportation petroleum use and almost 60% of all transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.

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