The new policy would also directly regulate emissions for the first time. Obama intends to force all manufacturers to produce passenger cars and light trucks that are capable of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2012-16, equal to 6.625L/100km in real terms. Not exactly a hard figure to achieve, you would think?
The US government believes the restrictions would save at least 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program. Interestingly, General Motors is supporting the plan. However we believe it's because GM needs all the government support they can get.
Toyota also supports the plan, given the majority of its cars already meet the standards.
"GM and the auto industry benefit by having more consistency and certainty to guide our product plans," GM CEO Fritz Henderson said in a statement.
The Bush administration's plan was to achieve similar figures but by 2020. The new plan is expected to add around US$600 to the price of producing a vehicle.
In order to help the industry the US Congress is considering legislation that would give new car buyers as much as Us$4500 to trade in older, less fuel-efficient models for hybrid or ultra efficient vehicles.
Do you believe this is the right move to produce more fuel efficient cars?