Bob Lutz's worst nightmare appears to be on the horizon. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters is expected to unveil proposed regulations for fuel economy today that go beyond what Congress mandated in last December's Energy Bill. NHTSA appears set to require cars to achieve a fleet average of 35.7mpg of 2015 while trucks will have to get to 26.7mpg. That amounts to an average annual increase of 4.6 percent which goes beyond the 4 percent bump required by congress. In order to meet these new requirements carmakers are going to have to dramatically increase the implementation of technologies, like hybrids, biofuels, electrification and most of all reduce power.
In the arcane workings of Washington, Congress defines the requirements for fuel economy in energy bills. Meanwhile the Department of Transportation, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration actually defines the specific regulations that automakers have to work to. Why a safety agency is responsible for fuel economy regs remains a mystery. Finally, the Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for enforcement. The proposals will still have to go through a public comment period before they are enacted and we're still waiting for comment from the automakers. Meanwhile it's not clear what if any impact this will have on the battle between the automakers and California over that state's proposals to regulate CO2 emissions which would effectively increase mileage standards. We live in very interesting times.

[Source: Detroit News]


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