Automakers commend Representatives Fred Upton and Debbie Dingell for recognizing the consumer benefits that can come from better alignment of government programs. It’s important to avoid unnecessary costs that ultimately are paid by customers.
Vehicle fuel economy is regulated by both NHTSA and EPA. In 2012, when new standards were finalized, there was a recognition that statutory changes might be needed in order for the two federal programs to work in concert. The government set an objective to harmonize the requirements of both agencies to avoid redundant, conflicting and costly programs. Despite this objective, significant inconsistencies continue to exist.
Today, there are still separate regulatory programs, created under separate statutes, managed by separate regulatory agencies. As a result, the mechanics of the programs differ. Automakers could comply with requirements under the EPA program and still face fines from NHTSA for the same product portfolio because of the different structure of the CAFE program.
This legislation will help better align the two regulations while preserving the environmental benefits of the fuel economy programs. The legislation, which has similar legislation in the Senate (S. 1273, Fuel Economy Harmonization Act) will not modify the EPA program, nor will it affect the targets or intended stringency of the programs. Without resolving the legal discrepancies inherent within the two federal programs, the goal of CAFE-GHG harmonization is more difficult to attain.
We urge Congress to pass this bipartisan legislation, as soon as possible to help keep automobiles affordable to the widest range of customers.