After months of wrangling over new fuel economy standards it appears that members from the House and Senate may finally be close to a compromise deal. According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, the 35 mpg standard by 2020 from the Senate bill would be retained. However two important aspects of current standards and the Hill-Terry bill would be restored. The calculation of separate averages for cars and trucks as well as distinct averages for import and domestic fleets would be back. It appears that there will be separate targets for vehicles based on weight allowing larger vehicles to meet a lower standard but a hard target that the overall fleet average must meet as well. If that happens, any company that wants to build bigger thirstier trucks would have to offset them with smaller, more efficient vehicles.
The separate domestic/import fleet averages would help keep some small car production in the US because the more efficient vehicles would offset the larger vehicles in the domestic fleets. If all vehicles are calculated together, the car makers are more likely to send production of less profitable small cars overseas. While this separate averaging has surely helped to keep some small car production here for the past two decades, it may actually be a moot point now as the value of the dollar continues to drop into the toilet.
[Source: Detroit Free Press]