Posted: 06/06/07 08:48 AM
Montana Pick-Up Truck Users Concerned About Legislation in U.S. Senate
Senate Bill 1419 in its current form would likely compromise power and access to traditional pick up trucks and light vans
The United States Senate is expected to begin discussions this week on S. 1419 which calls for radical increases in CAFE standards for pick-up trucks and light vans. If the bill is passed in its present form it would cause severe changes in the way pick-up trucks are made and reduce the amount of trucks that would be built. Montana pick-up truck, and four wheel drive users will be counting on Senators Tester and Baucus to protect their rights and work with their peers in the Senate to find effective compromises that don't threaten safety, production and consumer choice.
Title V of S. 1419 would create a single car and light truck fuel economy standard of 52 miles per gallon by 2030. This is bad policy with serious consequences for many reasons:
S. 1419 is extreme, by any yardstick. For the foreseeable future, few autos could achieve 52 mpg. No crossovers, minivans, SUVs or pickups on our roads could meet this extreme mileage standard. In Europe, where gasoline costs more than $5 per gallon, the average fuel economy is 35 mpg. Europeans buy small vehicles, often two-seaters. Light trucks are rare. But even Europe couldn't achieve the extreme mileage in S. 1419. Technology breakthroughs are required to meet such high mileage standards, and these breakthroughs cannot be mandated or scheduled on any timeline.
S. 1419 would change how light trucks work in this country. Under such an extreme mileage standard, light trucks would become smaller, lighter, less powerful...and less capable of work. Americans value fuel economy, but in states like Montana, they also want passenger and cargo room, performance, towing ability and more. Cars and light trucks have distinct characteristics, and they should not be combined into a single mileage standard. Existing federal law rightfully separates cars and light trucks in the CAFE program by setting different fuel economy standards for each.
S. 1419 would be costly for the economy and for Americans who rely on light trucks. S. 1419 does not take into account affordability and technological feasibility. As a result, the bill would require dramatic changes in automobiles, significantly raising the prices of many vehicles. Higher vehicle prices hurt small businesses, trades people, farmers, ranchers, and others dependent on crossovers, vans, minivans, SUVs and pickups for their livelihoods. Because S. 1419 is so extreme, it could also affect millions of auto jobs in every state, including suppliers to the industry.
S. 1419 fails to take into account how extreme mileage standards could affect priorities like safety. It is especially important to preserve safety while improving mileage. In 2002, a National Academy of Sciences study found that "if an increase in fuel economy is affected by a system that encourages either down weighting or the production and sale of more small cars, some additional traffic fatalities would be expected."
S. 1419 raises mileage at the expense of jobs, safety and utility. Fuel economy standards should be based on objective data, not arbitrary numbers, to avoid sacrificing prosperity or our lifestyles. The experts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determine the "maximum feasible" fuel economy standards by gathering extensive data, including proprietary product plans. This approach balances technological feasibility, safety, affordability, jobs and consumer choice.
There's a better way. Washington should raise fuel economy standards to the maximum feasible level that preserves safety, utility, jobs and affordability. Washington should also increase the availability of alternative fuels and provide incentives for consumers to purchase the 60 models of alternative fuel autos, including hybrids, diesel and ethanol- capable autos, on sale today.
PRNewswire-USNewswire -- June 5