By the end of this month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is due to propose new, even tougher fuel economy standards to take effect starting in 2017.

Passed just last year, the current standards will dramatically raise the fuel economy bar, ramping up from today's 27.5 mpg average for cars and 23.5 mpg for trucks to 37.8 mpg for cars and 28.8 mg for trucks by 2016. Those standards were released last year in response to the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, which requires cars and trucks to meet a combined average of of 35.5 mpg by 2020 (34.1 after credits.) Those standards, covering the maximum number of years regulators are allowed to set in advance, were announced on Earth Day last April.

On Thursday the EPA, in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), will announce its intent to raise standards even further, to at least 35.5 mpg overall by 2025.

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