Automakers request no decision on 62 mpg until studies are completed
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WASHINGTON -- The leading trade group representing automakers asked the Obama administration today to disregard 18 U.S. senators' promotion of a 62 mpg standard for 2025 vehicles until ongoing studies are completed.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, whose members include General Motors, Toyota and Ford, said fuel-economy and tailpipe-emission targets "should not be arbitrary numbers, chosen before the necessary analyses are completed."
The trade group asked Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to consider that a 62 mpg standard could affect vehicle safety and reduce sales and jobs.
Transportation Department and EPA spokeswomen did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The administration is in talks with automakers and the California Air Resources Board about setting fuel-economy targets for 2017-25 models.
A 2010 Transportation Department study found that weight reductions in heavier pickups, vans and SUVs would improve fuel economy and safety.
The department plans to update the study by September, when the administration plans to propose new rules. It also has commissioned more safety research to be completed before final fuel-economy standards are issued in the summer of 2012.
Last month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wrote a letter signed by 17 other senators that encouraged consideration of a recent government study.
That study -- a "technical assessment" conducted by the Transportation Department and EPA -- showed that a 62 mpg target by 2025 "is both technically feasible and cost-effective for consumers," the senators' letter said.
Among lawmakers who signed the April 4 letter to the administration include the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Richard Durbin of Illinois, and Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine.
Environmental groups also are pushing for a 62 mpg standard.
A Feinstein spokesman had no immediate comment today.
Automakers are seeking a single national program, as with 2012-16 standards, and intermediate reviews of the 2017-25 program so adjustments are possible.