WASHINGTON -- The White House has reached out to automakers, asking them to plan for a ceremony Friday to announce a deal over fuel-economy standards for 2017 to 2025, say two sources familiar with the discussions.
Automakers and the Obama administration have reached a framework agreement that involves an overall fleet average of 56 mpg by 2025 and significantly lower requirements for light trucks than cars until at least 2021.
The fine print of the deal is still being worked out, but all three U.S. automakers -- General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC -- along with foreign automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., have indicated their willingness to go along with the new proposal.
If the Obama administration gets the 56 mpg new vehicle fuel-economy rule it wants for 2025, will you still be able to buy a nine-passenger Chevy Suburban to carry half the soccer team?
Or a Ford F-150 to trailer a 20-foot bass boat to the lake?
Yes. But under the hood you may find a V6, a really hot V6 or a diesel, and maybe expensive hybrid technology.
It won't get anything close to 56 mpg, and it won't have to because its fuel economy will be judged only against similar vehicles.
"You're still going to be able to tow that boat, you'll still be able to get that sporty sedan, when 2025 rolls around," said David Friedman, of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "It's just going to be a better vehicle that costs less to run."
But automakers, who this week began airing radio ads attacking the higher standards, fear that tougher rules could cripple the industry by forcing production of vehicles consumers don't want.
"Going to 56 mpg is essentially a 100 percent increase from where we are today," said Gloria Bergquist, vice president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
Government standards for fuel economy have barely changed in 30 years.
But from the models that hit showrooms in September -- when the fleet target will be 29.7 mpg -- to those that will be out in 2025, car companies will have a lot of work to do.
Under a 56 mpg standard for 2025, marketers and consumers would be asked to build, sell and want cars and trucks that squeeze every drop of gas about twice as hard.