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To GM's already full plate, add new fuel economy standards

A reorganized General Motors will have plenty of jobs to tackle, including meeting a tougher fuel-efficiency standard.

The new federal standard, which also affects the rest of the auto industry, will boost by 30 percent the overall gas mileage of new cars and light trucks, including SUVs, helping curb oil imports and greenhouse gases.

But the benefit comes at a price. The federal government says the extra cost will amount to $1,300 per vehicle; other estimates are as high as $4,000.

GM does have the electric Volt coming onto the market next year, but it needs more than that to compete and prosper.

Automakers altogether will be spending billions of dollars to make more-efficient vehicles — keeping the pressure on GM, which will need some profits, additional federal help or an outside investor such as a European automaker to get the job done, said Michael Omotoso, a senior manager for J.D. Power & Associates.


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