Obama Raises Fuel Economy for 2011

On March 26, President Barack Obama pushed new fuel economy regulations for 2011 through the Department of Transportation. The regulations give some teeth to an initiative begun by the Bush administration to reduce emissions and our dependence on foreign oil.

The new standards were drafted quickly to give automakers time to retool production lines to meet the requirements. The 2011 model year was targeted so that the accelerated standards could be implemented quickly while not affecting the aggressive plans Obama has for future fuel economy and emissions standards.

Here’s how the mpgs will play out in 2011:

  • Passenger cars (sedans, compacts, etc.) must average 30.2 mpg
  • Light trucks (pickups, SUVs, etc.) must average 24.1 mpg
  • National fuel savings: 900 million gallons
  • Cost to the auto industry: $1.4 billion

These are small increases — smaller even than in the Bush proposal — that are expected to be met with little drama by embattled U.S. auto makers. Keep an eye on California, though, as it’s allowed to set its own fuel economy standards in the next few months, along with any other state that should fancy cleaner air and less time at the gas station.

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