In a ruling on November 15, 2007, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
blocked the Bush administration’s proposed standards to improve fuel
efficiency of light trucks and vans, stating that the proposed standard
did not account for the impact of auto emission greenhouse gases on the
The court also reprimanded the National Highway Transportation
Safety Administration (NHTSA) for not justifying the lower mileage
standards for light trucks compared with passenger cars. The ruling
noted that NHTSA failed to set standards for the 8,500- to 10,000-pound
gross vehicle weight rating (gvwr) class. The court ordered NHTSA to
rewrite the rules as soon as possible for light trucks built through
The Senate already has passed energy legislation that calls for
cars and trucks to meet a combined standard of 35 mpg by 2020.
Automakers oppose that hike, saying cars and trucks should remain
separate because they perform different duties.
The industry favors a House bill that would keep cars and truck
apart and raise the standard to between 32 mpg and 35 mpg by 2022.
Current CAFE rules call for pickups, vans and SUVs to meet a minimum
fleetwide standard of 22.2 mpg in 2008. The rule rejected by the court
called for a standard of 24 mpg by 2011. The new rule is expected to set
tougher standards on light trucks.