Negotiations are continuing between the White House and the US auto industry with a view to cementing tough new fuel economy and emissions standards for cars and light trucks.

The joint discussions could result in a deal being struck by tomorrow (21 May) according to US reports, although there is a suggestion this could be delayed pending more detailed analysis.

It appears manufacturers in the US are looking to head off any new requirements implemented by California, which has been ploughing its own furrow, with the automakers aiming to put an industry standard in place across the whole country.

Any fuel and emissions standards should be in place from 2017 onwards and would come as a welcome environmental public relations coup for President Obama’s administration as it battles with the fallout from the BP oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.

The discussions come just a year after Obama required US manufacturers to up the fuel economy of US cars to 35.5mpg by 2016, some four years faster than the present federal law mandates.