August 18, 2011 / 7:32 PM / 9 years ago

Japan plans new fuel economy norms for automakers

(Reuters) - Japanese automakers would need to boost their fuel economy by 24.1 percent by fiscal 2020 to meet the new standards being drawn up by the government, the Nikkei business daily reported.

The tentative guidelines, which could take effect as early as next spring and measures improvement from a base year of fiscal 2009, will apply to average fuel economy for an automaker’s entire vehicle lineup, the newspaper said.

For gasoline engines, the fuel economy benchmark will rise from an average of 16.3 km per liter in fiscal 2009 to 20.3 km in fiscal 2020, the Nikkei said.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Transport Ministry will open up the proposals to public comment as early as Friday before preparing a final draft, the paper said.

Electric cars and plug-in hybrids would be excluded from the requirements as they draw on external power sources, but hybrids like Toyota Motor Corp’s Prius would come under the guidelines since automakers that sell a lot of hybrids would have an easier time reaching the higher target, the newspaper said.

The new standards are aimed at pushing greenhouse gas emissions reduction to a new level and spurring the auto industry to develop new and better designs, the Nikkei reported.

With gas-sipping cars gaining in popularity worldwide, Japanese automakers could become more competitive globally, as the new standards will create incentives for focusing business resources on fuel-efficient models, the paper said. (Reporting by Arpita Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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