Important segments of the commercial truck industry—dealers and drivers—in a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood voiced their strong opposition today to a Senate bill that would nullify fuel economy rules established by Congress under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) in 2007.
Legislation currently before the Senate (S. 1733, “Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act”) would transfer the authority of the Department of Transportation (DOT) to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when determining fuel economy rules for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
The American Truck Dealers, a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association, and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association are opposed to the Senate legislation because the EPA would be granted the authority to set fuel economy standards without considering the impact on the economy and other factors. Under current law, the DOT is required to take these considerations into account when issuing fuel economy rules.
“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 the 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 stated. “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 Treadway, the dealer-owner of Kenworth Sales Company in Salt Lake City, Utah says there is no reason why the regulation of truck fuel economy should be transferred from the DOT to the EPA.
“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 in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana, Washington and Oregon. “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.”