The Obama administration is trying to convince automakers to accept a significant hike in fuel efficiency standards that would put US vehicles on par with those sold in Europe, Japan and China. The administration would like to raise the standard to 56.2 miles per gallon, or roughly double the current level, by 2025, the New York Times reports. Automakers have the tech to do that, but aren’t thrilled with the cars it would produce.
To meet that standard, cars will have to be smaller, lighter, and in some cases more expensive. “We can build these vehicles,” says an executive for the automotive lobby. “The question is, will consumers buy them?” They’re asking the government to phase in the standard more slowly, to help build charging stations for electric cars, and to provide credits for some technologies. The government is listening; sources say the 56.2 mpg figure is their opening bid, and could fall in negotiations.