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White House May Back Down on 56.2 MPG Fuel Economy Proposal

Compromise could mean lower requirement for light trucks.

by on Jul.15, 2011

President Obama during a visit to Detroit.

Compromise seems to be the watchword for the White House, and even as the president continues to seek consensus on a bill raising the federal debt limit it appears the administration might also aim for an acceptable alternative to the 56.2 mpg fuel economy standard it floated several weeks ago.

While already below the original proposal of 62 miles per gallon in 2025, the numbers still didn’t add up for most automakers.  Only Hyundai, of all major manufacturers, had indicated its belief it might even be able to come close.  Industry lobbyists gained a strong ally in their fight in the form of the United Auto Workers Union, which argued that a significant increase in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standard could cost potentially 100s of thousands of jobs.

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While Washington still appears to be set on the 56.2 mpg number for passenger cars, which would be a 5% annual increase over the 2016 standard of 37.5mpg, it is now raising the possibility of a reduced standard for light trucks.  A report in the Wall Street Journal quotes sources who say the requirement for SUVs, pickups and other trucks would climb only 3.5% annually.