WASHINGTON - Some automakers are close to calling for fuel economy standards as high as 36 mpg for cars and 30 mpg for light trucks, sources said today.
The proposal would be offered as an alternative to a fuel economy measure scheduled to be considered by the full Senate the week of June 11.
The Senate bill calls for a fleetwide average of 35 mpg by 2020 -- about 40 percent higher than today -- and further increases of 4 percent a year until 2030. Lobbyists for the industry have labeled the bill extreme and untenable.
But with congressional sentiment high for action to reduce petroleum consumption and cut greenhouse gas emissions, automakers probably cannot simply kill the legislation.
One document circulating among lobbyists is a draft of alternative legislation prepared by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., an industry ally. It calls for a car standard of 36 mpg by 2022 and a truck standard of 30 mpg by 2025, up from today's 27.5 for cars and 22.2 for trucks.
The alternative would enable automakers to avoid fuel economy standards altogether if they could show they were building vehicles with better fuel economy and lower emissions.