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Truck drivers ask NHTSA to set fuel economy standards, not EPA

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Truck drivers ask NHTSA to set fuel economy standards, not EPA

04/09/2010, 3:44 PMBY MARK KLEIS

Three trade groups in the trucking industry have sent a letter to transportation secretary Ray LaHood, requesting NHTSA to handle setting new fuel economy standards, rather than the Environmental Protection Agency. Truck drivers realize that NHTSA will account for economic factors when setting the first-ever standards on heavy-duty trucks, where as the EPA will focus solely on environmental impact.

According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, organizations supporting truck drivers around the nation have joined together to oppose a senate bill that aims to nullify fuel economy rules established by Congress under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007.

The way the law currently stands as a result of EISA, the Department of Transportation is responsible for determining fuel economy standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks, including the changes set to begin in 2016. A joint effort by the American Truck Drivers Association, National Automobile Dealers Association and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is calling for a stop to new legislation that aims to nullify EISA and move the fuel economy regulation to the EPA.

Current law requires the DOT to factor in the economic impact of their decision to regulate fuel economy, which will help to limit the rise of standards to levels that will create extreme economic hardship to truck drivers and the millions of businesses that rely on trucks to deliver goods. Should the new legislation pass that shifts the decision making to the EPA, the new laws will not account for job loss or increased costs, and simply aim to reduce emissions at all costs.

The three organizations opposing this new bill have sent a letter to transportation secretary Ray LaHood, urging him to stop the legislation.

“There are important reasons why the DOT should oppose a de facto repeal of the CAFE program for heavy-duty trucks in favor of an EPA regulation,” the trade groups stated in their letter. “Under EISA, fuel economy standards must be economically practicable, meaning that the Secretary must consider such important factors as job loss, consumer choice…and the health of the U.S. truck industry,” the trade groups argued. “Congress mandated that the Secretary take these important considerations into account because it would not serve the nation’s interests to set fuel economy standards that ignore these critical economic factors.”

ATd chairman, Kyle Treadyway, who owns a Kenworth dealer in Salt Lake City, Utah, sees no reason for the change in law.

“DOT has been regulating fuel economy for more than three decades. EPA has been regulating fuel economy literally since last week,” says Treadway, who operates 19 dealership locations across seven states. “It makes no sense to throw away all of DOT’s expertise at a time when the trucking industry can least afford it. If the legislation passed, the result could be unaffordable fuel economy standards for truck buyers.”



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