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by Tim Beissmann

Japanese and Korean new vehicle manufacturers believe they will be disadvantaged if new fuel economy standards are approved in the US.

Current proposals would make the standards more lenient for the biggest trucks and SUVs, segments that US manufacturers Chrysler, Ford and General Motors dominate.

The proposed standards would be introduced in 2016, aiming to increase the average new vehicle fleet economy to 56.2mpg (4.2 litres/100km) by 2025.

Compact trucks and SUVs – segments that importers like Toyota, Honda and Hyundai perform strongly in – would need to reach new fuel efficiency targets by the 2017 model year, and continue to make improvements each year until 2025.

Meanwhile, the largest trucks and SUVs, which have the poorest economy and are also responsible for the highest tailpipe emissions, would not have to meet new targets until 2020, with small improvements to follow each year after that.

According to The Wall Street Journal, executives from Japanese and Korean car manufacturers have met with White House representatives claiming the proposals give the Detroit Three a free kick that will impact the competitive balance of the industry for years into the future. They also believe the rules may actually encourage new car shoppers to buy less fuel efficient vehicles.

A White House spokesman said a final decision was still to be made and said administrators were working towards “saving families money and reducing dependence on oil”.

Manufacturers from the US, Asia and Europe have been in daily discussions with the government over the upcoming economy standards, with a deal expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

What do you think of the proposals? Is it fair that smaller cars, trucks and SUVs have to meet standards before the biggest trucks and SUVs? Shouldn’t the biggest emitters be encouraged to make the biggest economy improvements? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.




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