President Bush is pulling out of the race to set the next round of car fuel efficiency standards before his term in office ends. That means President-to-be Obama will decide how fast Detroit should be pushed toward a car and light-truck standard of at least 35 mpg. That’s the goal set by Congress for 2020, but the president gets to decide how fast to move in the phased implementation.
With Detroit drooping, Bush thinks a little breathing room is needed. Environmentalists, meanwhile, are eager for quick action by Obama. The Transportation Department has until April to finalize the 2011-2015 target.