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NHTSA: 2017-25 fuel efficiency talks on track


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NHTSA: 2017-25 fuel efficiency talks on track

David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington— California, the Obama administration and automakers are still working to reach a deal on the next round of fuel economy standards for the 2017-2025 time-frame, a top official said today.

"We're still grinding through. Everybody understands the stakes," said David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Last month, the administration said it was considering a fleetwide requirement of 62 mpg for cars and light trucks by 2025.

The administration also is considering annual increases in fuel efficiency ranging from 3 to 6 percent between 2017 and 2025, which equates to a fleetwide average of 47 mpg and 62 mpg by the period's end. The range of costs per vehicle is $770 to $3,500, depending on the stringency.

Strickland acknowledged as the administration moves toward a proposal next summer it will have to narrow the range of increases. "We're clearly going to have to get a more narrower range," Strickland said.

The administration said it will update its analysis of the issue by the end of this month and answer tough questions, including how much the proposals might cut auto sales as well as the safety impacts of reducing the weight of new vehicles.

California has the legal right to impose its own rules after 2016 if it doesn't like the federal deal.

"California has the ability to go first and we're in conversations … to keep the national program together," Strickland said.

Detroit's Big Three automakers and Toyota Motor Corp. contend the Obama administration significantly overstated the fuel efficiency gains that are feasible by the 2025 model year, according to their recently filed comments.

The automakers argue that the administration's proposal to raise fuel economy to as much as 62 mpg by 2025 understates the cost increases required to comply, overstates consumer benefits and fails to account for the role of fuel prices in car sales.

The requirements for the 2017-25 model years would come on top of regulations that will hike fuel efficiency by 40 percent over five years to an estimated 34.1 mpg by 2016.

Automakers said the actual price could be 21/2 times higher, based on a National Research Council report. They said under some scenarios, consumers wouldn't recoup the higher vehicle costs through fuel savings.

Automakers argue the EPA and NHTSA understated the costs of batteries for electric vehicles, and didn't take into account the full costs of reducing the weight of new vehicles.

Eight states, led by New York, want NHTSA to adopt at least 60 mpg by 2025, as do many environmental groups.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20101130/AUTO01/11300407/NHTSA--2017-25-fuel-efficiency-talks-on-track#ixzz16ocUDXIp

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