State-by-State Regulation, the Costs and Consequences

The NAM issued a statement upon President Obama’s announcement that the EPA would review California’s request for waiver so it can establish its own regulations to control vehicle emissions. Keith McCoy, vice president for energy and resources policy, said:

Auto makers acted in good faith working with Congress and the previous administration to develop the tough new national fuel economy law for the next 12 years and beyond. As directed by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is currently in the process of setting fuel economy standards that will result in a minimum of a 40 percent increase in fuel economy and a minimum 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020.

A separate waiver for California would lead to a patchwork of greenhouse gas reduction laws when climate change is a global issue and should be addressed on a national level.

Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the Auto Alliance, representing domestic and foreign automakers with major U.S. presences, also issued a statement supporting federal standards.

“The Alliance supports a nationwide program that bridges state and federal concerns and moves all stakeholders forward, and we are ready to work with the Administration on developing a national approach.”

Since CA sought federal permission to set its own fuel economy/CO2 standards, there have been many developments. The U.S. Supreme Court directed EPA to reconsider greenhouse gas regulations for autos, the Congress passed stringent new fuel economy standards requiring CO2 reductions of at least 30%, automakers are offering more than 25 models of hybrids for sale in 2009, President Obama and a Democratic Senate and House are considering a comprehensive, economy-wide approach to CO2 reductions, and the credit crunch is producing the toughest marketplace since World War II.

Today in the U.S. there are three voices on fuel economy/CO2 — NHTSA, EPA and CA — and each has different standards, different structures and different timelines. Automakers seek a federal-state solution that provides us with compliance clarity and one national standard.

The Alliance also urges the Obama Administration to issue fuel economy standards for MY2011, because automakers are working on their product plans now and need the certainty of final standards.

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