GM CEO advocates proposed fuel economy standards image

General Motors’ CEO Dan Akerson spoke highly of the Obama administration’s deal with 13 major automakers to nearly double fuel economy standards to 54.4 mpg by 2025, saying it would make conditions equal for all manufacturers.

“I think it was a win for American manufacturers for the first time. I think we’re on a level playing field on trucks, cars. No favor for some foreign manufacturer that happens to manufacture in this country.”, Akerson was quoted as saying by the Detroit News.

The 900-page proposal to hike fuel efficiency requirements over the 2017-2025 model years is estimated to save drivers as much as $4,400 in fuel over the life of their vehicles. Akerson said the uncertainty about future requirements had been “one of the major risks coming into 2011.” Under the new deal, carmakers won’t face separate regulations from California and other states.

Dan Akerson also touched the issue of small automakers selling a limited number of vehicles, saying they don’t immediately face the toughest requirements. Taking Mercedes-Benz as an example, GM’s CEO said: “I don’t think I’m getting any breaks in Germany. Again, the Americans got snookered in a prior negotiation. That had to come out.”

The new regulation will cost the auto industry $157.3 billion, including $37.8 billion for GM, according to an estimate from the federal government.