Three Lawmakers Want Regulators to Pump the Brakes on Fuel Economy Review

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
three lawmakers want regulators to pump the brakes on fuel economy review

Whoa, slow down a minute. That’s the message from three Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is reviewing fuel economy targets set out for automakers.

The members want more time for car companies to respond to a key report about the 54.5 mile per gallon corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) target, The Detroit Free Press reports.

The midterm review looks at whether the 2025 mileage target is realistic and achievable. Already, the process has yielded a technical assessment report that heaped praise on automakers for installing fuel-saving technology on their vehicles. Three key regulators concluded that the industry will see a light vehicle average of 50 and 52.6 miles per gallon by 2025, if things stay on the current path.

The review process is ongoing, but the regulators (Environmental Protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and California Air Resources Board) seem to be leaning towards keeping the target in place. A final recommendation won’t come until 2018.

Automakers were given 60 days to respond to the July report. Now, three members want the comment period extended. Chairman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), Ed Whitfield (R-Kentucky), and Michael Burgess (R-Texas) are seeking an extra 60 days. Why? The report is too damn long, it appears.

“We assert that the current comment period does not provide the necessary time for an adequate public review,” the members wrote in a letter dated yesterday. “The draft (technical assessment report) exceeds 1,000 pages in length, contains extensive technical information, and references a large number of supporting documents.”

They added that some of the supporting documents weren’t available at the beginning of the public comment period, which runs out on September 26. The regulators responded by saying they’d review the request.

The 2025 target was signed into law in 2012, covering both fuel economy and tailpipe emissions levels. In the draft TAR, regulators were encouraged by the use of turbocharging, gasoline direct injection, electrification and other technologies to raise fleet-wide fuel economy.

Some groups aren’t happy with the 54.5 mpg target. The largest backlash is from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which claims that fuel-saving technology adds excessive costs to a new vehicle.

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9 of 57 comments
  • Redapple Redapple on Aug 31, 2016

    55 MPG CAFE is STUPID, Slow, lazy way to save fuel. TAX it like Europe does. Washington cowards like to hide behind CAFE s stupid autocratic edicts. A$$hats.

    • See 2 previous
    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Aug 31, 2016

      32% of the current pump price ($2.25) in Pennsylvania is taxes - the highest in the country. What tax rate do you suggest would reduce truck sales to the point where the CAFE rule is achieved without technical advances? Should we raise the price to $4.50? Well, at that not-long-ago price, the F-150 was still the best-selling vehicle. Gasoline demand in the US is very price-inelastic over long periods of time, which is a unique cultural phenomenon. I suspect that we'd see the F-150 outselling other vehicles even with $9 gas.

  • Jeff Waingrow Jeff Waingrow on Aug 31, 2016

    There's always a reason why car companies can't do something. It started with seat belts. Too expensive and nobody will use them anyway. Air bags. You're kidding, they'd cost a fortune. Now you can get a six-pack in the cheapest cars. It never ends. All these bogus claims were never about what was claimed. The manufacturers had their own interests at heart, not yours. So will they kindly explain why my $28,000 GTI doesn't even have a back-up camera. Probably too expensive, right? Soon, no doubt, every vehicle will have one and it will add beans to the cost.

    • See 3 previous
    • Duaney Duaney on Sep 01, 2016

      @Ronnie Schreiber In addition, the 1951 Kaiser was promoted as the safety first car, with such features as better visibility, pop out front and rear glass, recessed knobs, right hand emergency brake handle, and the 1948 Tucker had many safety features as well, pop out windows, safety crash cell under the dash, rotating cyclops head light. Of course today we know seat belts are a better way than the pop out windows, but at least they tried and cared.

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.