Dealers, manufacturers laud CAFE

The nation's leading trade associations united to praise the leadership of Reps Baron Hill (D-IN) and Lee Terry's (R-NE) in bringing a significant and responsible proposal to increase to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) for debate in the US House.

Representatives from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM), and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) joined the congressmen in a news conference touting the strong support of the Hill-Terry CAFE alternative, HR 2927. With the number of cosponsors of the bill growing to more than 100 in a remarkable period of time — 11 legislative days — it has quickly become the strong bipartisan alternative to more radical fuel efficiency bills such as HR 1506, sponsored by Rep Markey (D-MA) and the Senate Energy bill, HR 6.

Aside from consumer demand, a concern for manufacturers is meeting the demands with current and developing technology. Setting the bar too high is technologically infeasible and detrimental to the jobs that produce, supply, and service the auto sector.

The Hill-Terry CAFE Alternative effectively balances fuel economy increases with vehicle diversity, safety, and affordability by boosting CAFE 30-40 percent over a 15-year period. Just as important, HR 2927 still allows separate attribute-based standards for different vehicle classes, protecting the product diversity that car and truck buyers demand.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other lawmakers have publicly stated that they are supporting the more severe CAFE hike approved by the Senate in June — a 35-mpg minimum combined car/truck standard. To meet the stringent Senate standard and other more radical proposals, automakers could be forced to significantly downsize their vehicles.

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