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EPA criticizes U.S. agency's mileage target

September 03, 2008|From the Associated Press

The Environmental Protection Agency says another arm of the Bush administration may be low-balling the economic benefits of increasing fuel economy standards for cars and trucks.

Echoing criticism previously voiced by Democrats and environmentalists, the EPA said in comments filed with the Transportation Department that the department would have been better off using higher estimates for future gasoline prices when it proposed increasing the average fuel economy of all vehicles to 31.6 miles per gallon by 2015.

The proposed fuel economy increase was based in part on estimates that gas would range from $2.04 a gallon to $3.37 a gallon, averaging $2.42 a gallon in 2016.

"EPA has several concerns with the methodology used to determine the relative benefits and costs of the alternatives analyzed," Susan Bromm, director of the EPA's Office of Federal Activities, said in a letter last month to the Transportation Department.

Gas prices were already more than $3 a gallon when Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters unveiled the increase in fuel economy standards in April.

The EPA also expressed concern that the Transportation Department placed too low a value on the societal benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles by raising mileage performance.

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