LaHood focused on fuel economy, safety

Oct. 11, 2009 at 6:28 PM

DETROIT, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is focused on automakers' efforts to address safety issues and fuel economy, officials said.

LaHood, preparing for a two-day trip to Detroit starting Monday with a visit to Ford Motor Co.'s Research and Innovation Center, will use the visit to reinforce the White House's goal of increasing vehicle fuel efficiency standards to an estimated fleet-wide average of 34.1 mpg by 2016, The Detroit News reported.

LaHood, making his first stop in Detroit since assuming his Cabinet post, on Tuesday will pay a call on General Motors Co.'s Milford, Mich., proving grounds, where he is to inspect GM's rollover test center and its other research facilities, the newspaper said.

Officials said the transportation secretary will be joined at times by U.S. Reps. Carolyn Cheeks and John Dingell, both Michigan Democrats.

The News noted LaHood has previously stated he's convinced American consumers are abandoning big vehicles even though gas was then under $2 per gallon.

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