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Feds Delay Decision On New Fuel Economy Rules

60+ mpg goal needs to be balanced against added costs.

by on Dec.02, 2010

Battery power could be essential if the EPA ultimately sticks to its 62 mpg target. Shown here the 2012 Toyota RAV4-EV.

Federal regulators will push back by nearly a year proposed fuel economy standards that could eventually require automakers to deliver as much as 62 miles per gallon on a fleet-wide basis.

The ongoing debate over the proposals has only been heating up now that any proposal to increase mileage would have to go before a House committee soon to be controlled by the new Republican majority.

The Obama Administration has already indicated its tentative support for raising mileage mandates significantly once the current 35 mpg standard is met in 2016.  With the White House looking at annual increases of 3% to 6%, that could mean a 62 mpg target for 2025.

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While industry leaders ultimately rallied around the 2016 standard, there is still significant resistance to pushing much higher, with skeptics citing both costs and technical limitations.  The Administration had projected that reaching 62 mpg would add as much as $3,500 to the price tag of the typical vehicle sold in the U.S. market.