Automakers had until July 1st to plead their case to the NHTSA overlords before the government agency set off to finalize the 2011-2015 CAFE standards. After hearing comments from Detroit automakers, Toyota, Daimler, and others, it seems that the new standards are going to have a sweeping effect on both consumers and auto industry employees. The Auto Alliance states that the cuts would hasten the exit of 82,000 jobs, cost $29 billion for consumers, and raise the cost of your favorite truck by $4,000 or more. The added cost of vehicles will also cut annual production by up to 850k units industry-wide.

Complaints from automakers are in stark contrast to claims from NHTSA, which says the added fuel economy will result in 9,000 more jobs. The two sides do agree that the new standards will cost a lot of money, as NHTSA estimates that the new rules could cost $47 billion by 2015, though automakers estimate it will cost even more. While the Alliance wants some slack in the new rules, Congress wants to see even tougher regulations. The wise guys and gals on the hill say the proposal doesn't reflect $4-per-gallon gasoline, and automakers feel the regulation doesn't reflect common sense. Since the new rules begin to take effect in late 2010, automakers contend that the product cycle is already baked in, and changing at this stage in the game would be like moving an Egyptian pyramid with Two Guys and a Truck.

Whether automakers can meet these stringent deadlines on time or not, the industry is being turned on end. With gas approaching $5 a gallon, automakers don't need the government to tell them that they need more efficient vehicles. Cash-carrying customers are doing that just fine, thank you.

[Source: Detroit News]