Twenty-nine of the U.S. senators were Democrats, including Carl Levin (D-Detroit)

The new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) proposal has won the support of 30 U.S. senators, who are now looking to put the final touches on the rules and have them completed by summer.

The CAFE proposal, which was introduced by the Obama administration, the state of California and major automakers, aims to increase the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. to 54.5 mpg by 2025. The idea behind the proposal is to decrease both greenhouse gas emissions and the U.S.' dependency on foreign oil.

When the 54.5 mpg standard was initially proposed last year, its reception was back and forth. Republicans worked to block the standards last fall because they believed that it would regulate many new vehicles that sell for under $15,000 entirely out of existence. In addition, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has strongly opposed the new standards, saying they could tack an extra $5,000 to the stick price of new vehicles in 2025.

While many major automakers have backed the new fuel rules, despite recently asking for changes last week, some have not. For instance, Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG have said that the new proposal offers no incentives for diesel cars.

Despite some criticism, the CAFE proposal pushed on and grabbed support from major automakers like Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Chrysler. Other supporters include the United Auto Workers (UAW) and environmental groups like the National Wildlife Federation.

Now, the list of supporters has grown much longer. Thirty U.S. senators have jumped on board with the CAFE proposal, and hope to have the rules finalized by summer.

The U.S. senators released a letter yesterday saying that the 2017-2025 requirements proposed under the CAFE standards are broadly supported by the industry. Of the 30 senators, 29 are Democrats.

"This proposal provides our industry both a single program moving forward, as well as regulatory framework that enables manufacturers to plan and invest for the future with confidence," said Sue Cischke, Ford Motor Co.'s vice president of sustainability, environment and safety engineering. "We are committed to working with you to finalize these regulations. The standards proposed are aggressive, but so are the demands from our customers for greater fuel efficiency."

The need to provide more fuel efficient vehicles is stronger than ever. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, U.S. gasoline prices have increased 38 cents a gallon to an average of $3.52 a gallon from over one year ago.

Source: The Detroit News

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