Obama To Announce New Fuel Economy Standards

Automakers and the White House have reached agreement on a new fuel economy standard of 54.5 mpg for cars and light trucks, sources tell NPR. The new standard would be phased in beginning with model year 2017 and fully implemented by 2025. The president is expected to formally announce the agreement tomorrow.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, host:

President Obama is expected to announce new fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks tomorrow.

As NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports now, this deal comes after weeks of negotiations with automakers.

ELIZABETH SHOGREN: The agreement would kick in in 2017. By 2025, the average vehicle will go 54.5 miles per gallon. To get there, cars would have to improve their fuel economy by five percent per year. Light trucks would start out at 3.5 percent, but increase to five percent later on.

The White House didn't officially announce the deal, but sources close to the talks outlined it for NPR. And environmentalists like Brendan Bell from the Union of Concerned Scientists were briefed at the White House.

Mr. BRENDAN BELL (Union of Concerned Scientists): Your car is going to go further on a gallon of gas, you're going to spend less at the pump, you're going to have cleaner air for your kids and we're going to be less reliant on oil as a country.

SHOGREN: Bell says Americans will have to pay more to purchase new cars. But savings in gas will add up to thousands of dollars over the life of a vehicle. It's the second fuel economy agreement that President Obama forged with the auto industry. The first one will boost average fuel efficiency to 35 miles per gallon in 2016.

Chrysler says it supports the deal. Automakers say it won't be easy to meet the requirements. But several are expected to give their endorsements by joining the president for the announcement.

Elizabeth Shogren, NPR News. Washington.

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