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Deal reached on U.S. fuel-economy standards

Deal reached on U.S. fuel-economy standards

Deal reached on U.S. fuel-economy standards
November 30, 2007

U.S. lawmakers reached an agreement to boost fuel-economy standards cars and light-duty trucks for the first time in more than 20 years.

The deal, struck late Friday night after days of negotiations, is expected to move through the House next week as part of an energy bill. The bill will raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) to 35 miles a gallon by 2020, a level initially approved by the Senate earlier this year.

The legislation would also require auto makers to maintain a minimum fleet wide mileage average.

“I have supported raising CAFE standards in a sensible and effective way, and I believe the agreement reached today prescribes standards that are both aggressive and attainable,” said House Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D, Michigan). “After weeks of productive discussion and negotiation, we have achieved consensus on several provisions that provide critical environmental safeguards without jeopardizing American jobs.”

Chart showing domestic crude production versus crude oil imports, thousand barrels per day - 1920-2005

The current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard is 27.5 mpg for cars — a level which hasn’t been raised since 1985 — and 22.2 mpg for pickups and SUVs. The proposed increase in fuel economy-standards is roughly 40 percent higher than current levels.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), average fuel efficiency for U.S. automobiles is lower today (21.0 miles-per-gallon) than it was in 1987-1988 (22.1 miles-per-gallon), despite climbing oil prices and growing concerns over global warming.

In May, eleven states led by California sued the Bush administration for “illegally adopting ‘dangerously misguided’ gas mileage rules.” The suit alleged that the Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new mileage standards violate federal law by ignoring both the environment environmental impact on oil use and the country’s growing dependence on imported oil.

This article is based on an article from The Wall Street Journal, a statement from the House of Representatives, and previous articles.


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