The Chinese government is enacting escalating fleetwide fuel-economy standards that may be fairly reasonable for 2015 but become far less realistic at the end of the decade.

China's National Development and Reform Commission are among government entities that say the country's new passenger cars would be required to reach a fleetwide 34 miles per gallon by 2015, marking the first-ever overall fuel-economy mandate for China, Reuters reports.

And while recent fleetwide numbers aren't available, Reuters quotes John Zeng, Asia Pacific director of consultancy LMC Automotive, as saying that China cars boosted fuel economy by about five percent in 2009 to a little more than 30 miles per gallon, implying that cars would have to cut fuel consumption by a realistic two percent a year through the next three years.

That's especially doable if, as Pike Research predicted last year, China plug-in vehicle sales jump by 60 percent a year during the next few years, ultimately reaching 152,000 units in 2017. Still, China's leaders are mandating fleetwide fuel economy of about 47 miles per gallon by the end of the decade, which will take a heck of a lot more than 152,000 plug-in vehicles to reach.

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