March 13, 2018
SELF-DRIVING CARS LEGISLATION MUST PRESERVE STATE VEHICLE FRANCHISE LAWS (S. 1885/H.R. 3388)
Congress aims to finalize legislation to advance self-driving vehicles by preempting certain state laws that could force automakers to build different self-driving vehicles for different states. NADA has strongly urged Congress to retain a state’s traditional role to provide consumer protections, and license and regulate vehicle commerce within its border as applied to self-driving vehicles. Historically, the federal government has preempted only state laws that impact vehicle design, construction and safety.
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved S. 1885, the “AV START Act”, by voice vote in October. While the bill clarifies that state laws regarding the sale, distribution, repair or service of AVs remain intact and are not preempted, a technical amendment is needed to fully ensure that state license and franchise laws are preserved. The bill’s sponsors have committed to correct the technical issue before full Senate consideration. The House passed H.R. 3388, the “SELF DRIVE Act,” in September 2017 with NADA-backed language clarifying that the bill does not preempt state vehicle licensing/franchise laws. Congress must ensure the states’ traditional role to regulate vehicle commerce within their borders is explicitly preserved as applied to self-driving vehicles.
OPPOSE OVERBROAD RECALL BILLS (S. 1634/H.R. 3449)
Sen. Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Schakowsky (D-Ill.) have introduced bills (S. 1634/H.R. 3449) that could cripple the used car market by halting the sale or wholesale by a dealer of any used car under open recall, even though most vehicle recalls do not require the drastic step of grounding. These bills would create a “trade-in tax” that would instantly devalue a car buyer’s trade-in by grounding recalled vehicles for minor matters such as a peeling sticker. Because of a shortage of recall parts, it often takes months to repair recalled vehicles. A 2015 study by J.D. Power found that enactment of these bills would result in an average “trade-in tax” of $1,210, and some consumers’ trade-in values would decline by $4,000 to $5,000. Lowering trade-in values would immediately hurt car buyers by reducing the down payment a consumer could use to buy a newer vehicle. Also, since the bills do not regulate private sales, recalled cars would be pushed into the unregulated private market, making it more difficult to complete recall repairs.
The Senate Commerce Committee rejected an amendment nearly identical to S. 1634 in 2015. Congress should support initiatives to increase recall completion rates and oppose S. 1634/H.R. 3449, which creates a “trade-in tax” on millions of customer trade-ins while potentially making it more difficult to fix recalled vehicles.
SUPPORT REPEAL OF THE FEDERAL EXCISE TAX ON NEW HEAVY-DUTY TRUCKS (H.R. 2946)
During consideration of a potential infrastructure bill, Congress should revisit the 12 percent federal excise tax (FET) imposed on most new heavy-duty trucks. This tax adds between $12,000 to $22,000 to the price of a new heavy-duty truck. The FET depresses new heavy-duty truck sales and delays the deployment of cleaner, safer and more fuel-efficient trucks. This burdensome tax is in addition to the nearly $40,000 in recent federal emissions and fuel-economy mandates that make it harder for small businesses to afford a new heavy-duty truck. Congress should repeal this harmful and outdated tax to stimulate the sale of new heavy-duty trucks that would directly benefit the 7.3 million Americans employed in the trucking industry. Members of the House should cosponsor H.R. 2946 to spur new-truck sales and promote the entry of cleaner and safer trucks to modernize the trucking fleet.
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