Lutz: CAFE standards will push prices up $6,000 per car

GM's outspoken Vice Chairman Bob Lutz told reporters today at the Detroit Auto Show the U.S. government's 35 mpg CAFE standard will push car prices up by $4,000 to $10,000 per vehicle, or an average $6,000. Lutz has been a vocal opponent of the regulations, which he believes will harm the U.S. auto industry.

"This is going to be a net average of cost of $6,000 per vehicle which will have to be passed onto the consumer," he said. "The good news is it won't come all at once, because 35 mpg doesn't kick in all at once."

The new standards were approved by the House of Representatives in December. The new CAFE standards will be phased in beginning in 2011. The new law calls for automakers to achieve an average of 35 mpg across their fleets by 2020.

Lutz previously warned GM's future rear-wheel-drive cars might need to be rethought if the government doesn't change its position. In April, he said small cars only count toward an automaker's CAFE average if they're built in the United States. At current prices, it's impossible to build small cars and sell them at a profit, he claimed.