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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/23/2005 2:01:46 PM EDT
Just noticed today that gas prices actually have gone DOWN around here a few cents in the past week.


UPDATE 2-US proposes to boost light-truck fuel economy

Tuesday 23 August 2005, 5:48pm EST
(Adds U.S. responds to criticism, 90 day comment period)

By Paul Simao

ATLANTA, Aug 23 (Reuters) - U.S. auto regulators on Tuesday proposed new standards that would improve gas mileage for popular sport utility vehicles and other light trucks in an effort to cut consumption and save consumers money.

But environmental and consumer groups said the broadest overhaul of the federal mileage program in 30 years -- proposed during a summer of record pump prices -- did not go far enough to lessen dependency on foreign oil. They said it would only help domestic automakers build bigger vehicles. Small SUVs and trucks would have tougher requirements than they do now.

The Transportation Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration established new fleet or Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) targets two years ago, raising the requirement for light trucks to 22.2 miles per gallon (mpg) from 20.7 mpg during the 2005-07 model years.

Passenger cars, which were not included in the new proposal, must get an average of 27.5 miles per gallon.

The centerpiece of NHTSA's proposal on Tuesday would be to drop the formula for calculating fuel economy that averages performance over an automaker's entire light truck fleet, establishing in its place six categories requiring different fuel standards based on vehicle size.

This plan could hurt foreign manufacturers who have historically offered a broader range of models than their U.S. rivals to more easily comply with fuel mileage requirements.

But NHTSA is giving automakers the choice of the new formula or the current one to reach its fuel targets between model years 2008 and 2010. All manufacturers would have to abide by the new formula in 2011.

Using the current formula, light vehicles would have to achieve 22.5 mpg in model year 2008 -- which begins in early 2007 -- 23.1 mpg in 2009 and 23.5 mpg 2010.

Under the new calculation, small light vehicles would have to achieve 26.8 mpg in model year 2008 compared to 20.4 for the large models. By 2011, small vehicles would have to get 28.4 mpg compared to 21.3 mpg for the bigger ones.

Popular selling light trucks range from DaimlerChrysler's <DCX.N DCXGn.DE> PT Cruiser to the powerful Chevrolet (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Silverado pickup.

The government does not plan to require the largest light trucks -- the Hummer H2, Ford (F.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Excursion and other models that weigh between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds -- to meet fuel economy standards because there are few on the market.

"This plan is good news for American consumers because it will ensure that the vehicles that they will buy will get more miles to the gallon and ultimately save them money," U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta told reporters at a morning news conference in Atlanta.

Mineta said the new formula would nearly double fuel savings to 10 billion gallons of gasoline over the period and maintain the administration's determination to lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

But environmental, consumer and other advocacy groups were sharply critical. Some said the standard should seek a 1 mpg increase per year at least.

"The administration has proposed a pathetically weak increase in light truck miles per gallon standards and has given automakers an increased opportunity to game the system by increasing the size of their SUVs and other light trucks," said Anna Aurilio, legislative director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the main trade group for major U.S. and overseas vehicle makers, said it supported CAFE reform. "The alliance members will fully evaluate the proposed new system and analyze its impact on our product and technology plans and will offer constructive comments," a statement by the group said.

Jeffrey Runge, the NHTSA administrator, responded to the criticism at a news conference at a Los Angeles gas station later in the day. He said the revamped formula would be fairer without sacrificing safety. "We will get fuel savings from every size of vehicle," he said.

Administration officials hope to finalize the new regulation next April after consulting manufacturers, consumers and environmentalists over the next 90 days.

There were 8 million light trucks registered in the United States in 2004. Nearly 60 percent of all new vehicles purchased last year were light trucks, industry estimates show.

U.S. retail pump prices hit record $2.61 over the last week, up 73 cents from a year ago, according to US government data released on Monday. It can cost more than $50 to fill up some large sport utilities.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 2:05:04 PM EDT
Let the vehicle owners decide how much they want to pay. A bunch of busy-body government employees need to be fired.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 2:15:34 PM EDT
A PT Cruiser is considered a light truck? HOW?? You can't tow with it at all, it's not 4 wheel drive, and my wife has a kitchen microwave cart with more hauling capacity.
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