New Light Truck Fuel Economy Standards Important First Step

But Much More Reform Needed, Urges Alliance to Save Energy

Washington, D.C., August 24, 2005 -Yesterday the Bush Administration unveiled new fuel economy standards for light trucks. The proposal would both revise the structure of the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) program for light trucks and would impose modest increases in the fuel economy standards for light trucks beginning in model year 2008.

"Improving the fuel economy of today's cars and trucks is critical in the face of record-high gasoline prices and the nation's dangerous over-reliance on petroleum, 60 percent of which is imported and most of that from unstable and unfriendly regions of the world," stated Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan upon release of the proposed new regulations. She added: "The Administration's leadership in seeking to reform a program that is woefully out-dated and ineffective is welcome, but providing real relief to America's consumers and businesses impacted by the spiraling price of oil will take far more aggressive reforms of the CAFE program than are being proposed."

The proposed regulations would allow automakers two options for meeting fuel economy requirements for light trucks (which include SUVs and minivans). First, automakers could continue to comply using the current structure which would include an increase in the light truck fuel economy standard to 22.5 miles per gallon (mpg) for MY 2008, 23.1 mpg for MY 2009 and 23.5 mpg for MY 2010.

Alternatively, automakers could begin to comply under a new, "reformed" structure, which will establish six size categories, each with its own improved fuel economy target. The categories are based on vehicle size and each automaker would be required to meet a target level of fuel economy for each category. Each manufacturer would still be required to comply with a single overall average fuel economy level for each model year of production. The range of targets for each model year would be as follows:

MY 2008: From 26.8 mpg for the smallest vehicles to 20.4 mpg for the largest

MY 2009: From 27.4 mpg for the smallest vehicles to 21.0 for the largest

MY 2010: From 27.8 mpg for the smallest vehicles to 20.8 mpg for the largest

MY 2011: From 28.4 mpg for the smallest vehicles to 21.3 mpg for the largest.

In May 2011, all manufacturers would be required to comply with the new, "reformed" CAFE structure.

In commenting on the new regulations, Callahan went on to say, "The proposed regulations simply do not go far enough when one considers that the fuel economy of the new US car and truck fleet is at a 20-year low. Our hope is that the Administration will follow this initial step with immediate and more aggressive reforms to the CAF program."

The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental, and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, economy, and national security.

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