Government officials in Japan announced that the country is considering new rules that would require automakers to improve average vehicle fuel efficiency by 20% from 2004 levels by 2015. The new legislation, which is expected to be formalized early next year, would cover all new passenger and small commercial vehicles. According to initial reports, the rules would follow the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry’s ‘top runner’ program. The program bases standards on the best performance in the industry, and steps are subsequently taken to share leading technologies across companies. The new program will consider 15 to 20 different vehicle weight classes and will impose fines on automakers that fail to meet the new standards.