Automakers, lawmakers raise CAFE concerns

Automakers, lawmakers raise CAFE concerns

The revised fuel economy rules have been controversial since the Obama administration introduced them in 2012. But the midterm report issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this summer only added fuel (so to speak) to the fire.

The report said that automakers would likely fail to meet the goal of 54.5 mpg by 2025. Still, the agencies expressed confidence that the goal could be met and appeared disinclined to change the target. For more information on the report, click here.

In late September, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on the midterm report and future fuel efficiency goals. Automakers and some members of Congress voiced their concern over the stringent rules, especially in light of the low gas prices that have driven consumers to buy more SUVs and light trucks.

–If we jam standards that are inconsistent with consumer behavior, weêll jeopardize the health of this industry, cost thousands of jobs, diminish environmental gains and sacrifice improved safety standards,” said Mitch Bainwol, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. –The way to get it right is to honestly acknowledge the impact of low gas prices so future targets are achievable, to recognize consumer demand for more powerful vehicles, and to finally harmonize government programs to reduce inflationary compliance costs.”

The Alliance said the standards must acknowledge the importance of consumer affordability an issue NADA has also emphasized and of vehicle safety.

Some members of Congress also expressed concern about the rulesê effect on vehicle affordability and safety. Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) said it was a particular problem for people in rural, low-income states, according to The Hill.

Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) worried about how the rules were affecting dealers. He told the committee about a Texas dealer who was forced to stock electric cars that were taking space from the pickups and SUVs his customers wanted, The Hill reported.

The final rules will be adopted by the next administration no later then April 1, 2018.

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