WASHINGTON -- Increases in fuel efficiency will happen, but not until at least the ’04 models are launched, say U.S. Senate Democrats, who introduced an energy bill on Dec. 5 that includes a rise in fuel efficiency. Auto makers would have to be notified of a change by next April in order to meet the Oct. 1, 2003, debut of ’04 models. The Transportation Dept. is also mulling a hike. No specific rules will be written until the bill is reviewed by the Senate Commerce Committee.

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