Proposal Will Require 35.7 MPG by 2015

If approved, new cars in 2015 will have to get at least 35.7 mpg and 28.6 mpg for light trucks. The U.S. Transportation Department will announce the proposal today, which is coincidentally Earth Day. With a new record national average price of $3.51 a gallon on Monday, the Bush administration is trying to do everything it can to address the rising cost of gas.

While all three presidential candidates support California’s efforts to increase the minimun mpg even more, automakers are the ones who might take the hit on the proposal. If approved, manufacturers will have to bump up the price of vehicles to meet the new requirements. GM, for example, said it will have to make more hybrid cars and will have to tack on $6,000 to each car to make it more fuel-friendly.

If gas prices continue to rise, a more gas-efficient vehicle could save consumers more money in the long run. If finalized, the proposed increases will force automakers to focus more on developing vehicles using hybrid and diesel technology and use a smaller, less powerful engine to meet the requirements.