All too often, government policies are set by politicians and bureaucrats based solely on ideology rather than facts. With this week's announcement that the Obama administration will impose the equivalent of the California greenhouse gas emissions rules on a national level, it's good to hear that officials at least consulted with some technical experts. In this case, experts from Ricardo worked with officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to analyze comments on last year's CAFE proposal.
Ricardo is better known as an engineering consultant specializing in powertrains. However, in this case, the company was able to assess technical issues to determine the practicality of meeting the standards. The 2007 energy bill that drove the increase in CAFE standards required cost benefit and viability analysis of the new regulations.

Given that Ricardo apparently helped determine that the new regulations were viable, it should come as no surprise that automakers are coming out in favor of the new rules. Ricardo, of course, has a vested interest in tougher fuel economy and emissions regulations since the company helps automakers develop the powertrains to meet those rules.

[Source: Ricardo]

Ricardo helps shape US CAFE fuel economy rules

Release date: 18 May 2009

Technical support provided to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on the final 2009 light duty vehicle CAFE rulemaking which will come into force for 2011 - consolidates Ricardo's global position as a technology thought leader in fuel economy

Ricardo provided its expert advice to NHTSA based on technical analysis of comments received for the Notice on Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), the process through which interested parties may comment on proposed US regulations. Ricardo was contracted as an objective and independent authority in assessing comments provided to the NPRM process on cost and effectiveness of fuel saving technologies. The NHTSA project drew on Ricardo's full range of systems-engineering expertise, encompassing gasoline and diesel technology, hybrid propulsion, transmission and driveline systems, controls and electronics, and vehicle engineering. This role was recognized by NHTSA in the final published version of the 2009 CAFE rule, which states that: "NHTSA chose to contract Ricardo because of its extensive experience and expertise in working with both government and industry on fuel economy-improving technology issues."

Ricardo's work for NHTSA builds upon previous support provided by the company to US authorities including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Academy of Sciences, and branches of the military. In addition to the company's long-standing work for customers across the automotive, commercial vehicle and off-highway sectors, this NHTSA project further demonstrates Ricardo's position as a global thought leader in fuel economy. As with its work for regulatory authorities in Europe, Asia and elsewhere, Ricardo provides its objective and independent guidance to regulators to help ensure that future regulation is both feasible and practical from a manufacturing and technology standpoint.




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