Big SUVs likely to keep guzzling gas under forthcoming fuel-economy plan

The Bush administration is said to be abandoning efforts to set fuel-economy standards for huge SUVs like the Hummer H2 and Ford Excursion, which fall outside the weight classes covered by current standards. Those concerned about the warming globe, skyrocketing gas prices, and foreign-oil dependence have long chafed at the loophole, but, well, Big Auto has more lobbyists than they do. American automakers say such standards would damage their shaky bottom lines. The administration is poised to release its new plan for auto fuel-economy standards later this month; it will be the first major rewrite of the rules since the 1970s. The plan had been expected to regulate well-hung gas guzzlers weighing in excess of 8,500 pounds for the first time, but insiders now say that’s unlikely. Once it’s officially released, the plan will be open to public comment.