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Fuel economy standards to increase

The US Department of Transportation has announced higher fuel economy standards for vehicles beginning in model year 2011 along with light trucks. The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards are expected to rise to 27.3mpg - an increase of two miles per gallon compared to the model year 2010. The change is expected to save about 887million gallons of fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 8.3million metric tons over the lifetime of the vehicles. The changes are the first step towards reaching the goals outlined by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 which expects average fuel economy to be at least 35mpg by 2020. In addition the new standards re-classify more than a million two-wheel drive vehicles as passenger cars rather than trucks - this pulls down the average fuel economy of passenger cars putting more emphasis on car manufacturers to work hard to meet new targets. Despite the change, the standards are expected to increase the average fuel economy to 30.2mpg while raising the fuel economy of light trucks to 24.1mpg. To allow the car manufacturers a sufficient amount of time to meet the new targets, the Department of Transport published the standards in the Federal Register early - they will come into effect on May 29.

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Paul Lucas

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