Bipartisan Resolution in Congress Urges Preservation of Single National Fuel Economy Standard



WASHINGTON (May 1, 2009) - A single, national fuel economy standard for passenger cars and light trucks will do more to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gases than the 14 separate programs sought by California and other states, lawmakers outlined today in a resolution.

The resolution, introduced by Reps. Bobby Bright, D-Ala., and Lee Terry, R-Neb., supports maintaining a single, national fuel economy standard to give the auto industry the regulatory stability and certainty necessary to build the next generation of fuel-efficient vehicles that consumers demand.

“Congressmen Bright and Terry understand that a single, national standard is better for America than a patchwork of more than a dozen different fuel economy regulations,” says John McEleney, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and a multi-franchise dealer in Iowa.  “We applaud their leadership and understanding of the auto industry's need for regulatory certainty during difficult economic times.”

Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering whether to permit the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to establish its own fuel economy regime, which would be duplicative and unnecessary, NADA says.  Thirteen states have also adopted CARB's rule. The Obama administration is required by law to make a decision by June 30, 2009.

“There is little to no additional environmental benefit to CARB's fuel economy program over the federal CAFE requirements,” says McEleney, noting that President Obama has already raised the national fuel economy requirements for the 2011 model year higher than the standard proposed by CARB.

The resolution points out that a federal law passed in December 2007 already requires a boost in fuel economy on cars and trucks by at least 40 percent by 2020, which will result in a 30 percent reduction of carbon dioxide, the predominant greenhouse gas.

McEleney argues that under CARB's rule, automakers would curtail delivery of certain models and force dealers to accept vehicles that their customers may not want to buy. Also, automakers that sell fewer than 60,000 vehicles in California would be exempt from regulation. Chinese and Indian automakers could be exempt as well. Hummer would be exempt under CARB's regulation if it is sold by General Motors.

“The California program is unworkable as a national policy; it unfairly exempts some automakers while holding others accountable; it suffers from a 'patchwork' design and other loopholes,” McEleney says. “America's auto dealers support a single, national fuel economy standard.”

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