National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is focusing attention on fuel economy rules for light trucks. Some suggestions for reforms to certain CAFE standards have been published by the National Academy of Sciences in January 2002 in a report that examined the effectiveness of CAFE. The report suggests revising the structure of the light truck standards to reduce incentives to lower vehicle weight, because of the argument that weight increases safety. NHTSA is currently soliciting public comment for its possible CAFE reforms. The agency has not come up with definite targets for reform. It has stated some possibilities, including those in the National Academy of Sciences report, but is open to suggestions at this point. The National Academy of Sciences report analyzed the cost-effectiveness of the application of existing technology on various classes of cars and light trucks. The bottom line of the analysis is that proven technology can cost-effectively improve fuel efficiency, with light trucks showing the biggest opportunity for improvement.

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