Legislation Would End EPA’s Ability to Regulate Fuel Economy

I’m all for cutting government waste, but a recent bill introduced by Republicans in Congress would bar California from setting its own emissions and end the EPA’s power to regulate auto emissions. I hate politics.

Republican Fred Upton, from the 6th district in Michigan, introduced the bill to end the EPA’s ability to regulate tailpipe emissions under the pretense of cutting back on government spending and save private companies billions of dollars. The bill would give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the power to regulate fuel economy, even though the EPA already has all the infrastructure in place to regulate and set fuel economy standards. How is that “smaller government?”

There’s nothing wrong with cutting back on wasteful spending, but why would he want to end the emissions standards that save lives and give us breathable air? The government got involved because they had to. Toxic chemicals are coming out of those tailpipes, and in the days before regulation air quality and health issues went hand in hand.

Upton introduced this bill because it is going to cost automakers around $51 billion to meet the 2016 CAFE standards that dictate a fleetwide average of 34.1 MPG.  Too bad I say. The CAFE standards haven’t budged for two decades, and automakers didn’t bother to improve their fuel efficiency, even though they’ve been through this before. California was forcing any automaker who wanted to sell cars in the largest automobile market in the country to build hybrids and electric vehicles 15 years ago. All three of the Big Three should have seen these standards coming, and they never should have ditched technology for the easy money of SUV sales. But they did.

Upton’s bill won’t go anywhere. It does concern me though. Do Republicans intend to undo the last thirty years of progress in every area of the government, just to save money? Why don’t they try fixing something, like Social Security or Medicare? I guess not.

There is, however, a part of Upton’s bill I agree with; banning California and other states from setting their own emissions standards. Again, I understand why they did it, but in the automaker’s defense it costs them a lot more money to comply with separate standards. Money that could be better spent on innovation. That’s the tough part though, isn’t it? Trying to balance the wants of consumers with the regulations of the government while trying to make a profit can’t be easy, and there is no lack of legislation dictating what American automakers can and can’t do, preventing them from importing vehicles that the rest of the world gets to buy.

Instead of trying to kill the EPA’s entire emissions regulations, make it easier for automakers to import cars with fuel-efficient diesel engines and eliminate ridiculous laws like the Chicken Tax. That would save the automakers billions of dollars and allow them to import the fuel efficient vehicles that Europe already has. Meeting the 34.1 MPG average would be a cakewalk, and automakers could focus more energy on meeting the 2017-2025 standards that Upton also wants to block.

I bet I hate politics as much as Upton hates progress.

Source: Edmunds Auto Observer

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMI’s. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.