Trucking groups oppose fuel rules action

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Updated Apr 14, 2010

In a Friday, April 9 letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the American Truck Dealers and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association voiced opposition to a Senate bill that would nullify fuel economy rules established by Congress under the Energy Independence and Security Act in 2007.

Senate Bill 1733, “Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act,” would transfer the authority from the U.S. Department of Transportation to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency when determining fuel economy rules for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

ATD, a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association, and OOIDA are opposed to the Senate legislation because EPA would be granted the authority to set fuel economy standards without considering the impact on the economy and other factors. Under current law, 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 CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) 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. 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, a Kenworth dealer in Salt Lake City, says there is no reason why the regulation of truck fuel economy should be transferred from DOT to EPA. “DOT has been regulating fuel economy for more than three decades. EPA has been regulating fuel economy literally since last week,” Treadway says. “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.”