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US Announces New Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Rules

The Obama administration has announced steps to require better fuel efficiency for cars and trucks. The White House, the plan also includes stricter rules on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.

The president says he is following through on his promise to enact new government regulations to improve fuel efficiency and strengthen emission controls.

"It is an action that is long overdue," he said. "It will give our auto companies clarity and stability and predictability."

At the White House, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson made the announcement.

"This marks a significant advance in our work to protect health and the environment and move our nation to a sustainable economy in the future," she said.

The fuel efficiency standards call for new vehicles sold in the U.S. to average 15 kilometers per liter by 2016. The proposed regulation would cover cars and trucks made in the 2012 through 2016 model years.

The proposal is expected to increase fuel efficiency by about five percent each year and cut greenhouse gas emissions by almost 950 million metric tons. The administration estimates that the plan would also save 1.8 billion barrels of oil overall.

Officials say the requirements would cost as much as $1,300 per vehicle by 2016, but that they would save more than $3,000 over the life of the vehicle through better fuel efficiency.