Yesterday, auto dealers met with their members of Congress to try to delay new rules that would stiffen the gas-mileage requirements for cars sold in model years 2017 to 2025.
The National Auto Dealers Association made the rounds to pitch a proposal that would amend spending legislation for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the 2012 fiscal year.
The amendment would forbid the EPA from taking any actions to implement fuel economy standards for those years. It is sponsored by Rep. Steve Austria (R-OH).
The new standards, which would raise corporate average fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon for 2025 (or less than 50 mpg in the real world), were agreed to earlier this year by the Obama administration, the EPA, the NHTSA, the California Air Resources Board, and most automakers.
Predictably, the NADA action generated pushback from environmental groups, which urged their supporters to communicate with their Congressional representatives to support the 54.5-mpg rules and vote against the Austria amendment.
Global carmakers desperately want to have regulations fixed well ahead of time, so they can make the appropriate investments to design and build products that meet the standards.
NADA probably doesn't want to be seen as opposing higher fuel economy standards outright, so their action was couched--at least to The Hill--as simply a delay in onerous regulations. Bailey Woods, a NADA representative, called the 54.5-mpg rule "too much, too fast" in an interview with The Hill.
Other news outlets said roughly 400 dealers had made the trek to D.C. There are roughly 20,000 car dealers in the U.S.