"We're going to talk to our friends in the industry. We're going to make sure we get it right for them and for what we believe is in the best interest of the country," LaHood said at a General Motors assembly plant in Flint, Mich.
The Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday White House officials met with auto executives last week to brief them on the proposed new standard, which would be significant progress in fuel efficiency over the 35.5 miles per gallon average automakers are striving to hit by 2016.
LaHood, who was in Flint to congratulate GM and the United Auto Workers for adding 750 jobs to the Flint assembly plant, said he did not know how the administration came up with 56.2 miles per gallon as a goal for fuel efficiency.
Industry representatives quickly complained that the higher fuel standards would add $2,000 to the price of the average vehicle, which some say would be offset by less money spent on gasoline over the life of the vehicle.