USDOT posts model year 2011 fuel economy standards

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The U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday, March 27, posted the new fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks for the 2011 model year. President Obama on Jan. 26 directed USDOT to review relevant legal, technological and scientific considerations associated with establishing more stringent fuel economy standards, and to finalize the 2011 model year standard by the end of March.

“These standards are important steps in the nation’s quest to achieve energy independence and bring more fuel-efficient vehicles to American families,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The new standards will raise the industrywide combined average to 27.3 miles per gallon — a 2.0 mpg increase over the 2010 model year average — as estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It will save about 887 million gallons of fuel and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 8.3 million metric tons.

The 2011 standard will use an attribute-based system, which sets fuel economy standards for individual vehicle models, based on size. LaHood said that work on the multiyear fuel economy plan for model years after 2011 is already under way.

The review will include an evaluation of fuel-saving technologies, market conditions and future product plans from the manufacturers. The effort will be coordinated with interested stakeholders and other federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.