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U.S. EPA, DOT announce notice of intent to increase automotive fuel efficiency

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - 23:00
The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) Oct. 1, 2010, regarding fuel economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for cars and small trucks manufactured between the year 2017 and 2025.

According to the EPA, this national program continues the administration's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase fuel efficiency and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The EPA claims the initiative will help make it possible for manufacturers to build a single national fleet of cars and light trucks that satisfies all federal and California standards, while ensuring that consumers have a full range of vehicle choices.

NHTSA, the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) made an interim technical assessment that details different potential outcomes. The assessment, developed through extensive dialogue with automobile manufacturers and suppliers, non-governmental organizations, state and local governments, and labor unions, takes into consideration the costs and effectiveness of applicable technologies, compliance flexibilities available to manufacturers, potential impacts on auto industry jobs, and the infrastructure needed to support advanced technology vehicles.

The EPA and DOT state in the technical assessment that they will issue an interim report in November with further details regarding the new fuel economy standards for vehicles manufactured in 2017 and afterward.

The final rule for the intended standards is scheduled for almost two years from now, and there are several things that will determine how extensive the restrictions will be. One of these major factors is the extent of time it takes for the automotive industry to develop electric vehicles and other advanced technology. Currently there are 245 million registered vehicles in the United States.

Only 1.6 million of these vehicles are hybrids, and only 33,000 of those are fully electric. Currently, cars are required to attain 27.5 miles per gallon. The EPA announced just last year fuel economy standards that increase the current average mpg required from 27.5 to 35.5 by 2016. The administration expects to have a final rule by July 2012.


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