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Auto Dealer to Congress: Multiple Fuel Economy Standards Hurt Economy, Job Growth

WASHINGTON (March 1, 2011) – A redundant set of three fuel-economy standards could hurt auto sales by increasing costs and restricting vehicle availability—directly affecting the nation’s fragile economic recovery and hurting job creation, Alabama new-car dealer Forrest McConnell told a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee today. 

McConnell urged Congress to return to a single standard that takes into account national factors, such as jobs, safety and consumer demand as it will more effectively increase fuel savings, enhance economic growth and protect the environment.

“Auto dealers support fuel-economy increases, but federal regulators must realize the health of the U.S. economy and job growth hinges on the success of auto manufacturing and auto retailing,” said McConnell, who testified on behalf of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

“Allowing the auto industry to offer new vehicles that are affordable and in demand—and most important, more fuel-efficient—will increase fuel savings, cut greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs,” he added.

Currently, automakers must comply with three different programs administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.

Even though the Obama administration sought to “harmonize” the standards between the agencies through 2017 under the “National Program,” McConnell noted that all three programs have different compliance schemes. 

“Duplicative and sometimes conflicting rules could increase the cost of a new car or truck and may limit the availability of certain models. How is that good for the consumer? If car buyers delay new-vehicle purchases and choose to hold onto their older car longer, how is that good for the environment? How is that good for job creation?” McConnell asked.

“Only through a single, national standard established by NHTSA—which Congress originally chose to set fuel economy—will there be carefully planned and beneficial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and cut this nation’s dependence on foreign oil without hindering the economic recovery or contributing to job losses.

“Congress should exercise its authority to put common sense and thoughtful policy back into the driver’s seat of the fuel-economy debate,” McConnell added.

Click here for the Executive Summary. Click here for McConnell’s oral testimony.

About NADA: The National Automobile Dealers Association, founded in 1917, represents about 16,000 new-car and truck dealers with about 34,700 franchises both domestic and international. For more information, visit www.NADA.org.

Contact:

Bailey Wood
NADA Legislative Affairs
(202) 547-5500
(202) 557-1674 (m)
bwood@nada.org

Charles Cyrill
NADA Public Affairs
(703) 821-7121
(216) 870-8837 (m)
ccyrill@nada.org