Obama to tighten fuel-efficiency rules for cars, trucks


Washington : US President Barack Obama is expected to tighten fuel efficiency rules for vehicles Tuesday and order carmakers to increase fuel economy to 35 miles per gallon (14.7 km per litre) by 2016, according to media reports Monday.

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The 2016 target would be four years earlier than that set by Congress in a 2007 energy law.

According to The New York Times, Obama may also grant California’s long-standing request to set its own carbon-emission standards, which are more stringent than those of the federal government. The request was denied under the administration of former president George W. Bush.

Representatives of major automotive interests, including General Motors chief Fritz Henderson and United Auto Workers Union President Ron Gettelfinger, are expected to be present at the announcement, The Wall Street Journal reported online.

The 35 miles-per-gallon requirement – an average for cars and trucks – would represent a 40-percent increase over the current 25 miles-per-gallon standard mandated by law.

Obama’s expected announcement has gained applause from climate-change experts because it would reduce carbon emissions, which are blamed for global warming.

The move would “help move America off foreign oil, save families money and spur American businesses to take the lead in developing the job-creating, clean-energy technologies of the future,” said Daniel Weiss at the Centre for American Progress, a Washington-based think tank.

He noted in a statement that China is pushing ahead to become the worldwide leader in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and was investing $12.6 million an hour in greening China’s economy – six times comparable US investments.