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2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

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With strict CAFE standards set at 34.1 miles per gallon by 2016, automakers have a long, tough road ahead of them. If you compare recent fuel economy increases over the past five years, the task that lies ahead is downright daunting.

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It's not all that often that you hear automakers cry out for stronger regulations and stricter guidelines. In fact, the cries typically go the other way, begging for less oversight and looser laws. So, when automakers band together suggesting changes to CAFE guidelines beyond 2016 that would take fuel economy figures to new heights, we should probably listen, right?

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News of new CAFE regulations that would push mileage requirements up significantly came just days ago. The numbers are set and automakers will have to aim high, sort of, to hit the target of 35 miles per gallon by 2016. Several reports have stated that meeting these goals will add an average of $985 to the price of a new car by 2016. Estimates have also come in showing that automakers will spend a staggering $51.5 billion over the next five years to meet the new requirements. So, what's the real

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Nissan Leaf EV – Click above for high-res image gallery

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According to reports from both the New York Times and Politico, the Obama Administration plans to announce new CAFE regulations tomorrow that will finally reconcile both federal and state standards. The plan is expected to combine California's strict emission rules with the federal rule, raising the national fleet mileage to around 42 mpg for cars and approximately 26 mpg for light trucks by 2016 – an increase over the current standards of 27.5 mpg for cars and 24 mpg for trucks.

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