By Dan Shapley
New Mileage Standards Could End U.S. SUV Production
General Motors is abandoning plans for its luxury Cadillac Sixteen could be the first in a long list of large cars, light trucks and SUVs scrapped by automakers, as they face more strict fuel economy standards in the near future. The Senate has already approved a 40% boost to the nation's automobile fuel economy by 2020, which -- if approved by the House -- would require all automakers to achieve an average fleetwide fuel economy of 35 mpg, up from about 25 mpg today. And the exemption that SUVs and light trucks enjoyed up until now would disappear, making it so that even gas-electric hybrid SUVs would have trouble meeting the standard. Automakers will have to produce a raft of smaller fuel-efficient cars, or find a way to make SUVs far more efficient if they are to continue to produce them in such numbers as they have in the past decade. With competing proposals in the House, expect Detroit to ally with overseas competitors in a lobbying push to revive the current two-tiered rating system that distinguishes between cars and SUVs, or otherwise forestalls the move to greater efficiency.