Two plans that would require American manufacturers to produce vehicles with significantly increased fuel economy are being debated on the US Senate floor.

The Republicans have introduced a plan that would require cars and light trucks to average 36 miles per gallon of petrol by 2016. A Democrat plan calls for a 35 mpg average by 2013.

US automakers say both proposals are a threat to increasingly popular and fuel-hungry light trucks, which include minivans, sports utility vehicles and pick-up trucks.

Those proposals are a step up from the current law that says cars must attain an average of 27.5 mpg and light trucks must go 20.7 miles on a gallon.

”The Senate proposals would eliminate SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks,” Gloria Bergquist, spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said in The Detroit News.

“If these proposals pass, the only place you’ll see a light truck is in a museum.”