Tougher fuel economy rules announced

National fuel economy target increased by 2 mpg overall for the 2011 model year.

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By Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer

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NEW YORK ( -- The Department of Transportation announced the first increase in 25 years of the nation's fuel economy standards Friday.

Under the new rules, 2011 model year, cars will be required to get, on average, 30.2 miles per gallon and light trucks, such as pick-ups, SUVs and vans, will have to average 24.1 mpg.

The combined fleetwide goal for cars and trucks will be 27.3 mpg, a 2 mpg increase over the current standard of 25.3 mpg.

This represents the first step, under new fuel economy laws passed by Congress in late 2007, toward a 35 mpg average - including cars and trucks - by 2020.

The Department of Transportation estimates that the 2011 model fuel economy year requirements will save about 887 million gallons of fuel and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 8.3 million metric tons.

"These standards are important steps in the nation's quest to achieve energy independence and bring more fuel efficient vehicles to American families," said transportation secretary Ray LaHood said in a prepared announcement.

Under the rules, carmakers will be given individual fuel economy requirements based on their particular mix of models and vehicle sizes. Manufacturers that exceed the requirements will earn credits that would allow them to fall short of requirements in future years.

Since the requirements are based on averages, manufactures that sell more hybrid or electric vehicles could use those to offset sales of less-efficient vehicles.

"The finalization of the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for model year 2011 is an important first step," Dave McCurdy, president the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing major carmakers, said in a statement. "It is now important that the Department of Transportation provide automakers with the certainty and consistency needed by setting standards for model year 2012 and beyond." To top of page

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