The Detroit News reports that 66 US Representatives wrote to the House Appropriations Committee today to urge a measure blocking the EPA from regulating fuel economy in the 2017-2025 period. The letter, signed by 64 Republicans and three Democrats requests
A one-year ‘time out’ is necessary as EPA and (California) are setting national fuel economy standards without explicit authorization by Congress, under laws not designed to regulate fuel economy
According to the DetN, “the proposal would let the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration go forward with setting fuel economy requirements, but under the law it could only set new requirements through 2021.” And unlike past battles over CAFE, opposition this time around does not appear to be coming from the OEMs, but from NADA, the new car dealer lobby group. The only OEM to not sign onto proposed 2017-2025 standards is Volkswagen, which is reportedly in talks with regulators over the proposal.
Meanwhile, environmental groups lashed back at NADA, with a number of groups sending a letter to the lobbying group arguing that
These standards are supported by major automakers, the United Auto Workers, California and other clean car states, and numerous consumer, environmental, business and national security organizations. By continuing to oppose these standards, NADA is trying to sell Congress, dealers and the American people a lemon
The response from dealers?
Dealers face the customer every day and fully understand what will happen if vehicle prices rise $3,000 to $10,000. None of the organizations that sent this letter, DOT (Department of Transportation) or EPA, fully understand the cost of these fuel economy increases and the impact that it will have on auto sales.
The revived debate comes just days after Edmunds CEO Jeremy Anwyl argued that proposed regulations failed to take consumer preference into account. With Rep Darryl Issa attacking CAFE and GHG regulation on all fronts, and with plenty to criticize in the proposed standards, expect this debate to rage on.