The debate was held at a hearing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as part of the court ruling. The NHTSA's current standard of a fleet-wide avearge of 31.6mpg by 2015 is based on government forecasts that fuel prices will fall to around $2.40 per gallon by 2015, a fact that was an issue of contention during the hearing, reports the Detroit Free Press.
Several groups commented on the fact that this figure was a rose-tinted view of the future, and that fuel standards should be imposed on a worst-case scenario basis.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers stated that the proposal called for by environmental groups failed to take into account the costs associated with achieving the goal, and that it was not likely that it would be possible to improve fuel economy so drastically in such a short time across the industry. The Alliance represents General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, BMW, Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Mazda and Mitsubishi.