Fuel Economy Standards Rise for Light Trucks
BALTIMORE --- The Bush administration last week announced plans to raise the average fuel economy standard for pickup trucks and SUVs to 24.1 miles per gallon by 2011, Reuters reported. The change is aimed at saving oil without posing a threat to U.S. automakers. Transportation Department officials estimated that the regulatory adjustment will add about $200 to the cost of an SUV or pickup, but that cost will be recouped through greater fuel efficiency.The current light truck fuel economy standard, updated three years ago, required 22.5 mpg for the current model year.Back in August, the administration proposed raising fuel economy standards for pickup trucks and SUVs to an average of 24.0 mpg. “We decided to ask more of manufacturers than we had proposed,” Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said during a press conference last Wednesday in Baltimore. The final rule bolstered fuel savings by an estimated 10 percent, or 2 billion gallons, over its August proposal. The adjustment reflects the higher gasoline prices since Hurricane Katrina. With the new fuel standards, Mineta said, some light trucks will have to meet a fuel economy target of 28.4 mpg. That’s higher than today’s standard for passenger cars. The standards change will cost auto manufacturers an estimated $6.7 billion through 2011.Officials also estimated that changes to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards through 2011 will save about 10.7 billion gallons of gasoline by 2011.