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The heads of the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency signed off today on final rules to set more stringent fuel efficiency standards for cars made between 2012 and 2016.  The ultimate goal of today's decree is achieving the equivalency of 35.5 mpg by 2016--an increase of nearly 10 mpg over current standards set by the Nat'l Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

The new standards are expected to make cars more expensive, adding an estimated $434 per vehicle in the 2012 model year and $926 per vehicle by 2016.  The Obama administration, however, is counting on the measure to save consumers more than $3,000 over the life of the vehicle through better gas mileage.

With gas prices on the rise, automakers have been working on developing more fuel-efficient technologies, including hybrids and electric vehicles.  But in this volatile economy, it's unclear what kind of impact this more stringent government regulation will have on their bottom lines and/or their ability to hire workers. 
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