NADA, automakers blast EPA decision on fuel economy rules

NADA, automakers blast EPA decision on fuel economy rules

The Environmental Protection Agency surprised the auto industry when it announced recently that it would keep the stringent fuel economy standards that were set in 2012, despite industry objections that consumers are not buying fuel-efficient cars. Reaction was swift and strong.

–Consumers deserve access to affordable new cars and trucks, but Washingtonês midnight regulation will increase costs and force many working families into older, less safe and less efficient used cars,” said NADA President Peter Welch in a statement.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said, –This extraordinary and premature rush to judgment circumvents the serious analysis necessary to make sure the standards appropriately balance fuel efficiency, carbon reduction, affordability and employment.”

The Alliance called the action –premature” because EPA was not required to take final action on the standards until April 2018. It was permitted to do so any time before then. The rules call for the average fuel economy to rise from 34 mpg today to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

The Alliance also highlighted the role of consumer choice. –The evidence is abundantly clear that with low gas prices, consumers are not choosing the cars necessary to comply with increasingly unrealistic standards,” it said.

But EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, –Itês clear from the extensive technical record that this program will remain affordable and effective.” The agency said that its review of comments on the issue showed that –manufacturers can meet the standards at similar or even a lower cost than what was anticipated in the 2012 rulemaking.” The EPA believed that the standards could even be strengthened for MY 2022 2025. But the agency decided to leave them as they are to enable long-term planning in the auto industry.

NADA and the automakers indicated that they expect to work with the Trump administration to adjust the rules. But reversing them would be hard, John Boesel of the industry lobbying group CALSTART told the Detroit Free Press. Another extensive technical review would have to be done, and it would have to come up with contradictory findings.

EPA will take comments on the fuel economy standards until December 30. They will likely be approved in final form before Trump takes office January 20, 2017.

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