Government raises light-truck fuel economy

The Bush administration approved a modest increase Thursday in fuel economy for SUVs and small trucks beginning with the 2005 model year, administration sources said. The Transportation Department will require fuel economy for SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans to increase about 1.5 miles per gallon over three years beginning with the model 2005 vehicles that arrive in showrooms in late 2004, said the

The Bush administration approved a modest increase Thursday in fuel economy for SUVs and small trucks beginning with the 2005 model year, administration sources said.

The Transportation Department will require fuel economy for SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans to increase about 1.5 miles per gallon over three years beginning with the model 2005 vehicles that arrive in showrooms in late 2004, said the sources, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Automakers currently must meet a fleet average fuel economy of 20.7 mpg for the light-truck category that includes SUVs, minivans and pickups.

The change is the first since 1996, when Congress imposed a freeze on the federal fuel economy requirements on automakers.

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