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Europeans say new U.S. auto standards are unfair

General Motors vehicles go through assembly after GM celebrated the official launch of the Chevrolet Volt hybrid electric vehicle at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly November 30, 2010, in Detroit, Mich. The Volt extended-range electric vehicle, for which 1,000 jobs will be created by General Motors over the next two years, started production earlier this month.

Stacey Vanek Smith: The Obama administration says it will unveil a new fuel economy standard today. It will double the fuel economy standards for cars to 54.5 miles per gallon. Carmakers will have to reach that goal by 2025. But European carmakers say the new rules discriminate against their cars that they sell to Americans.

Marketplace's Stephen Beard reports from London.


Stephen Beard: A White House spokesman said the measure would improve fuel efficiency, cut pollution and save money for U.S. drivers. But under the new rules light trucks will get easier treatment. These are among the U.S. industry's best-selling vehicles. While the Europeans tend to export luxury or high performance sport cars to the U.S.

David Bailey is professor of business at Coventry University.

David Bailey: It's quite a clever trick by the U.S. government to say: Look we're doing what we can to reduce oil consumption, cut pollution, create new technology jobs and at the same time penalize European producers as against American producers.

Beard: Other analysts say that if the U.S. were really concerned about fuel conservation it would tighten up the economy standard for light trucks -- a major source of pollution and green house gas emissions.

In London, I'm Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.
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