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Fuel-economy standards rise to 27.3 mpg for 2011 model year

Fri, 27 Mar 2009

Fuel-economy standards for all light vehicles will rise 8 percent, to an average of 27.3 mpg for the 2011 model year, under new U.S. rules issued on Friday.

The regulations will use a new system that sets standards for individual models based on their size.

Cars will be required to travel an average of 30.2 miles on each gallon of fuel, up from 27.5 mpg, and light truck standards will increase by 1 mpg to 24.1 mpg, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. The combined fleet average will go up by 2 mpg.

"These standards are important steps in the nation's quest to achieve energy independence and bring more fuel-efficient vehicles to American families," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

The rules are the first fuel-economy mandates set by the Obama administration. They stem from a U.S. energy law, enacted in December 2007, that will lift standards 40 percent by 2020 to a fleetwide average of at least 35 mpg.

In January, President George W. Bush decided not to establish the first phase of that increase because of the industry's financial straits and passed the decision to his successor.

President Obama faces an April 1 deadline to set the new standard for the 2011 model year.

Federal law requires NHTSA to give automakers at least 18 months lead time before imposing higher standards under the corporate average fuel economy program, or CAFE.

By Automotive News