Rethinking targets on gas mileage

Milling over a car engine

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: Today, the House debates the role of gas mileage in the whole equation of fuel costs. Congress just updated fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks just a few months ago, but already they sound outdated. Sarah Gardner has more.


Sarah Gardner: Thirty-five miles per gallon by 2020. That's the new fleetwide fuel efficiency standard for cars and light trucks. But that standard is based on gas price assumptions in the mid-$2 range.

The Department of Transportation has the authority to go beyond the numbers set by Congress. Brendan Bell at the Union of Concerned Scientists says the agency should do just that.

Brendan Bell: We think the Department of Transportation should give Americans the fuel economy that they need right now. And 40 miles by 2020 is very achievable.

Automakers say that's a stretch.

Charles Territo is with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers:

Charles Territo: Fuel economy standards that were set last year as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act push the limits of what's technologically feasible.

DOT is not expected to exceed the 35 mpg standard, but is likely to propose
bigger efficiency gains by 2015 than Congress initially sought.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

About the author

Sarah Gardner is a reporter on the Marketplace sustainability desk.

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