SUV Fuel Efficiency Battle Heats Up

Detroit automakers contest White House proposal.

Published: 20-Feb-2003

As the nation continues to face higher energy prices, the auto industry and the White House are locking horns over higher fuel standards for sport utility vehicles and trucks. What is at stake is potential changes to Detroit’s most profitable vehicles, and from the automakers’ perspective, those changes could be costly.

The debate centers around the minimum fuel economy standards for an automaker’s line-up of light trucks. Right now, those line-ups have to get on average 20.7 miles per gallon. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to raise the minimum by 1.5 mpg to 22.2 mpg, but that idea does not sit well in Detroit.

General Motors Corp. filed a response on Friday outlining how this would hurt the world’s largest automaker, saying increasing truck fuel economy by 1.5 mpg would cost the company $1.5 billion.

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