WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A delay in the Obama Administration's tough new automobile efficiency standards is a victory for consumers and automobile safety, a chief Republican critic of the fuel economy rule said on Wednesday.
The new fuel economy proposal, announced in July 2011 after months of negotiations between the Obama administration and auto makers, would require the companies to reach an average fuel efficiency across their U.S. fleets of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
"Increased fuel efficiency is a goal all parties support, but pursuing new standards that increase vehicle cost and decrease vehicle safety is dangerous for consumers and unacceptable from regulators," Darrell Issa, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said in a statement.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it would not meet the Wednesday deadline for publishing the final regulation but said it should be completed soon, according to a report by the Detroit News.
The extent of the actual delay was not clear, and the agency was not immediately available for comment.
The Obama administration previously estimated the new rules would lower the country's oil use by 2.2 million barrels a day over the next 15 years and result in big savings for American consumers at the gas pump.
Under the current mandate implemented in 2009, average fuel economy was to reach 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.
(Reporting by Russ Blinch; Editing by Leslie Adler)