The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Friday issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for Model Year 2004 light truck Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.

Beginning in 1996, Congress had prohibited NHTSA from spending any funds to consider any changes to the level of 1996 CAFE standards but this prohibition was lifted in December 2001.

NHTSA has therefore not had sufficient time to study whether a level other
than the one that has been in place since 1996 should be proposed but, by law,
must issue a final rule establishing a model year 2004 light truck CAFE standard by April 1, 2002.  Therefore, NHTSA is proposing a standard of 20.7 mpg, the same level that has been in effect since 1996.

However, the agency is inviting comments on the maximum feasible level of average fuel economy and will consider all submissions, including those with data and analysis suggesting a level higher or lower than 20.7 mpg.

The notice will have a 30-day comment period.