DETROIT (WWJ) – There was more support than opposition as government regulators came to Detroit to hear about the impact of new fuel economy standards that will hit 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025.
“The proposed rules are sensible, achievable and needed,” said UAW President Bob King. “They are good for the auto industry and its leaders, good for the broader environment and good for our national security.”
Tuesday’s hearing follows up to an agreement achieved between car companies, the government, labor and environmentalists over the summer. Auto representatives were at today’s hearing, testifying in support of the deal, but also saying that it won’t be easy to meet.
The major automakers signed off on the deal after rules were included to give them a little more flexibility in making a broader variety of vehicles. Those companies say that will allow consumers to still have choice in the cars and trucks they purchase.
There was also pressure from the state of California, which has often threatened to set its own fuel economy standards. Since California is the nation’s largest auto market, that would become the de facto standard for the company.
King, however, said the fuel economy deal shows that people with diverse views can work together to solve important problems.
“All three of the companies really listened to environmentalists, really listened to the government, really listened to labor,” he said. “I think the process of creative product solving really produced a great result.”
King hails the deal as a job creator. However, he was unable to give a specific estimate.
Some analysts remain skeptical.
“It is highly unlikely that higher fuel-economy standards will result in a net increase in jobs,” said Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of Edmunds.com. “The point being that no one can say with certainty what will or will not happen a decade or more in the future. Heck, it is hard enough to get to a level of confidence about what to expect next year, let alone in 2025.”
Anwyl, who posted his comments online, was not at the hearing, which featured a variety of environmentalists, union leaders, auto leaders and community leaders. There was little opposition.
Even those who had fought against higher standards as a burden to the auto industry were praising the deal.
“Over the years we’ve had long, hard fights to achieve an understandable standard,” said Congressman John Dingell. “We have had the difficulty of achieving a single, national, workable, strong, viable and good standard. We have achieved that today.”
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