The nomination of a new NHTSA administrator might seem like an event that would elicit little controversy, but when President Obama picked Chuck Hurley to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the rumbles began. In the White House announcement, Hurley's work with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (he was CEO since 2005) and automobile safetly was highlighted. Sounds good, right? Sure, if you ignore another aspect of Hurley's past, which is exactly what The Better World Group, which represents various environmental groups, does not want to happen.

BWG's president, Wendy James, told Green Car Advisor that Hurley has a history of opposing higher CAFE standards. Should he be confirmed, Hurley would then be a position to influence CAFE, since both the EPA and NHTSA contribute to the standard. Of course, the current reality is that CAFE is scheduled to climb to 27.3 mpg for 2011 model year vehicles on its way to 35 mpg by 2020, and we're not sure if one administrator can change that. We'll have to keep an eye on Hurley to see if he's still against CAFE in any way.

[Source: Green Car Advisor, Consumer Reports, New York Times]


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