WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama plans to announce proposed 2017-2025 corporate average fuel economy standards on Friday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday.
The White House has been asking automakers to endorse a plan to raise 2025 targets to 54.5 mpg.
The administration's program "will result in significant cost savings for consumers at the pump, dramatically reduce oil consumption, cut pollution and create jobs," Carney's e-mailed statement said.
While no automaker has formally signed on to the Obama administration plan yet, most -- including Ford, General Motors and Chrysler -- are generally supportive and intend to do so, industry officials said.
Each manufacturer is trying to iron out technical issues with the White House before endorsing the proposal.
The Association of Global Automakers, whose members include Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co., suggested it would take months to craft various technical aspects of the program with manufacturers.
"These are challenging new standards, and many important details still need to be worked out as the proposal moves through the federal regulatory process," association CEO Michael Stanton said.
Hyundai declined to comment on the CAFE standards until Obama administration officials release details of the plan, but the automaker supports tougher fuel efficiency targets for 2017-2025 using a "one national standard" approach.
"Higher standards are good for the county, good for the auto industry and good for consumers," a Hyundai spokesman said late Wednesday. "They'll save new car buyers money at the gas pump and reduce the country's consumption of oil."
After Friday's announcement, the administration plans to issue a detailed proposal by the end of September. Following public comment on the plan, the administration has said it will give final approval to new rules by next July.
Stanton also praised the White House's plan for a mid-term review of the 2017-25 standards.
The sweeping proposal, if adopted, will require some of the biggest gains in fuel economy since the U.S. government began setting mileage requirements in the 1970s in response to the Arab oil embargo.
The rules are expected to force major changes to the cars, minivans and trucks most U.S. motorists drive. They could also accelerate the electrification of the nation's car and light truck fleet.
But the industry will not give across-the-board support for the administration's plan, automakers said.
Leading German automakers, Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler, may withhold endorsement of the agreement, the industry representatives said. Failure to comply with the mileage plan could result in millions of dollars in fines for each company.
Toyota had initially expressed concerns but now plans to say it supports Obama's proposal, Bloomberg reported today, citing people familiar with the automaker's position.
"We are encouraged by the strong, positive feedback we are receiving from many companies and look forward to wrapping up the discussions in the near future," an administration official said today.
Spokesmen for Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The White House plan, disclosed to automakers earlier this week, calls for 5 percent annual mpg increases for passenger cars from model years 2017-25.
Light trucks and SUVs would be required to meet 3.5 percent yearly increases from 2017-21, with the annual targets jumping to 5 percent from model years 2022-25. The heavier vehicles in this category, such as Ford's F-150, would face the most lenient standards.
The White House plan also calls for a mid-course review to see if targets during the latter part of the nine-year period have to be adjusted in light of manufacturer costs, technology and sales.
The manufacturers could largely meet the requirements in the early part of this period by making changes in gasoline-powered engines without having to sharply increase sales of hybrids or electric vehicles.
The Wall Street Journal reported that most of the large automakers have signed off on the White House proposal. The report, which cited people familiar with the talks, is premature, manufacturer representatives said. The paper said Mazda Motor Corp. and Daimler AG oppose the plan.
"Our current understanding of the proposal raises some concern and we're continuing to review it," a spokeswoman for Daimler's Mercedes-Benz unit told the Journal on Wednesday.
Following the pending White House announcement, which also would involve California state regulators, the administration plans to formally propose the new targets in September and issue final approval next July.
The 2025 targets, which would roughly double the current standard, would build on the 2016 standard of 35.5 mpg.
If California hadn't agreed to the proposal, it wouldn't have been offered to automakers, a person briefed on the negotiations told Bloomberg.
Toyota's initial objections show the fault line between carmakers as the industry works with the Obama administration to craft fuel-economy rules.
GM, Ford, and Chrysler have said they would agree to a deal if the new rules are lenient on fuel economy improvements for pickup trucks, which are more profitable than cars for them, Bloomberg reported.
Non-U.S. automakers chiefly sell passenger cars and SUVs in the U.S. market.
For the past two decades, CAFE, rules were easier on Japanese automakers because they already sold smaller, more efficient vehicles and had to make fewer adjustments to meet a corporate fleet average.
GM, Ford and Chrysler sold bigger vehicles and had to do more to be in compliance, said Maryann Keller, principal of a self-titled consulting firm in Stamford, Conn.
"The Japanese were always the winner on CAFE because the standards allowed them to make more less-efficient vehicles," said Keller, who served on a National Academy of Sciences panel on fuel economy in 2003. "Now they will have to start really improving the fuel economy of their cars."
Bloomberg contributed to this report.