Obama Sets Disappointing Fuel Economy Standard for 2011


Photo via Hummerguy

The president announced the 2011 fuel economy standard for cars and light trucks today, and it's—well, pretty unimpressive. It's a still a step forward, but it's about as small of one as possible. For all the talk about keeping this country on the cutting edge by pouring new money into research and development, getting the economy running on green jobs and doubling alternative energy production, Obama seems to set his expectations for fuel efficient vehicles a little lower. Make that way lower. So what's the magic number—the miles per gallon cars and trucks will be required to get in order to be deemed road ready?It's a not-so whopping 27.3 mpg, according to the Free Press. Yup, that's the new combined fuel economy standard for two years from now. It's up 2 mpg from last year's standard. New SUVs and other light trucks will be required, by the year 2011, to hit 24.1 mpg. Not quite revolutionary. The new car standard is a little better at 30.2 mpg, but it's not exactly shooting for the stars, either.

Now, to be fair, the number is being regarded as a placeholder, as it leaves room for a more drastic reworking of fuel efficiency standards later this year. Reportedly, Obama has told officials to rework proposed standards for 2012-2026 with the incoming greenhouse gas regulations his administration is soon to be establishing taken into account. He'll also be allowing states, like California to set their own economy standards.

Automakers are reportedly entirely satisfied with the new standard, and have raised no objections.

So basically, it's a sort of "not this year" statement from Obama, who's leaving the matter open-ended. However, the intent to regulate greenhouse gases is a solid indication that we could see much more strict fuel standards in years to come.

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Tags: Fuel Efficiency | Transportation