Thursday, 28 July 2011

White House to unveil higher CAFE target on Friday

President Barack Obama plans to announce proposed 2017-2025 corporate average fuel economy standards on Friday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday.
The White House has been asking automakers to endorse a plan to raise 2025 targets to 54.5 mpg. The administration's program "will result in significant cost savings for consumers at the pump, dramatically reduce oil consumption, cut pollution and create jobs," Carney's e-mailed statement said.
While no automaker has formally signed on to the Obama administration plan yet, most -- including Ford, General Motors and Chrysler -- are generally supportive and intend to do so, industry officials said. Each manufacturer is trying to iron out technical issues with the White House before endorsing the proposal. The Association of Global Automakers, whose members include Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co., suggested it would take months to craft various technical aspects of the program with manufacturers.

"These are challenging new standards, and many important details still need to be worked out as the proposal moves through the federal regulatory process," association CEO Michael Stanton said.
Hyundai declined to comment on the CAFE standards until Obama administration officials release details of the plan, but the automaker supports tougher fuel efficiency targets for 2017-2025 using a "one national standard" approach.
"Higher standards are good for the county, good for the auto industry and good for consumers," a Hyundai spokesman said late Wednesday. "They'll save new car buyers money at the gas pump and reduce the country's consumption of oil." After Friday's announcement, the administration plans to issue a detailed proposal by the end of September. Following public comment on the plan, the administration has said it will give final approval to new rules by next July. Stanton also praised the White House's plan for a mid-term review of the 2017-25 standards.
The sweeping proposal, if adopted, will require some of the biggest gains in fuel economy since the U.S. government began setting mileage requirements in the 1970s in response to the Arab oil embargo. The rules are expected to force major changes to the cars, minivans and trucks most U.S. motorists drive. They could also accelerate the electrification of the nation's car and light truck fleet. But the industry will not give across-the-board support for the administration's plan, automakers said.
Leading German automakers, Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler, may withhold endorsement of the agreement, the industry representatives said. Failure to comply with the mileage plan could result in millions of dollars in fines for each company.
Toyota had initially expressed concerns but now plans to say it supports Obama's proposal, Bloomberg reported today, citing people familiar with the automaker's position.


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