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Bush calls for a 20% reduction in gasoline usage by 2017

Many of the top auto manufacturers selling vehicles in the United States are at least attempting to reduce consumption of fossil fuels. Big names like General Motors, Ford, Toyota, and Honda have production models or prototypes that rely on hybrid, fuel cell or diesel technology to improve fuel efficiency.

President Bush wants even more progress from automakers and is pushing for even stricter fuel economy standards in the coming years.

"We have laid out a plan that will affect greenhouse gases that come from automobiles by having a mandatory fuel standard that insists on 35 -- using 35 billion gallons of alternative fuels by 2017, which will reduce our gasoline uses by 20 percent and halt the growth in greenhouse gases that emanate from automobiles," said President Bush to reporters. "In other words, there is a remedy available for Congress. And I strongly hope that they pass this remedy quickly."

The Bush administration has calculated that the costs for the auto industry would come in at $114 billion USD between 2010 and 2017 to comply -- GM's share is said to be $40 billion USD.

Outspoken GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz was quick to respond to Bush's request. Lutz figures that in order for GM to reduce overall gasoline consumption 20% by the year 2017, it would need to raise the price of its vehicles by $5,000 to $6,000 USD. Lutz also remarked that the only way to meet Bush's goal would be to make almost every vehicle a hybrid or use other more expensive technologies like ethanol-based E85, all-electric or hydrogen-fuel cell vehicles. "This technology does not come for free," said Lutz.

That being said, GM is adding hybrid technology to existing vehicles to improve fuel efficiency. The Saturn Aura Green Line promises a 30% increase in fuel economy compared to a base Aura XE and is priced at a relatively reasonable $22,695 USD including destination charge. GM has also started early production on dual-mode hybrid versions of its Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon full-size SUVs. Hybrid technology is said to increase the fuel economy of these vehicles by as much as 25%.





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