Industry reactions to House passage of CAFE bill

With yesterday's passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 by the U.S. House of Representatives, the issue of how efficient vehicles in America will become in the future is back in the news. As we just talked about, the future of the bill as passed is uncertain, but this hasn't stopped groups in the auto industry from releasing statements on the bill.
SUVOA stands for Standing Up for SUV, Pickup and Van Owners of America (the bold letters indicate how the group gets its name. I think they should just be called the worst acronym creators ever). The group "is a non-profit consumer organization dedicated to supporting the rights and serving the interests of more than 80 million SUV, Pickup and Van Owners of America. Founded in 1999, SUVOA strives to ensure balanced media reporting of light truck issues and represents our supporters by educating federal and state policymakers." SUVOA issued a statement that supports the truck/car distinction in deciding CAFE averages and the 35 mpg CAFE standard as the least bad option. The statement (the whole thing is available after the jump) says that for "many" large vehicle drivers, these behemoths are the "only vehicles that meet their family, work or leisure needs." AutoblogGreen readers just had a good discussion on the idea that we need these huge vehicles, and lets just say I'm still skeptical of 80 percent of the people who say they just couldn't survive without driving something larger than a mid-size pickup.

Ford also released a statement on the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, calling the bill "an important step towards increasing the national fuel economy standard" and saying the House version with the truck/car categories is much better than the bill the Senate was discussing in June. Ford says the distinction "provides flexibility to manufacturers and encourages the production of flex fuel vehicles."

If you see any other related statements worth noting, send us a tip or add it to the comments.

[Source: SUVOA, Ford]

CAFE: Consumers Need to See the Fine Print on Total Costs

The following is being issued by SUVOA:

We support the 35-mile per gallon CAFE provisions within the just-passed House Energy Bill. SUVOA supports this "compromise" on vehicle fuel economy standards only because compared to other proposals it would be the least expensive for consumers.

Throughout the Congressional deliberations we backed strong increases in fuel economy and use of alternate fuels to reduce the nation's dependency on imported oil. We also advocated different standards for passenger cars and light trucks, recognizing the workload differences between the two.

However, forcing a 40 percent increase in fuel economy requirements can't be done without a lot of give and take. More precisely, giving up and taking away.

No one wants better fuel economy more than those who drive light trucks - SUVs, pickups, vans and minivans. They already are paying the most at the pump, but for many these are the only vehicles that meet their family, work or leisure needs.

But there will be no fuel economy free lunch. If an increase of this magnitude were easy or cheap any one of the world's profit-driven auto manufacturers would have already produced an affordable full-sized gas-sipper. It can be done, but the vehicles would cost far more than consumers would save at the gas pump (hybrids, for example are still less than 3% of sales and most owners do not realize a net dollar savings.)

As these challenging fuel economy standards phase in, consumers will pay thousands of dollars more for new vehicles. Many will be priced out of the new vehicle market altogether, and even those who can afford the purchase may never own the vehicle long enough to recoup the price hike through savings at the gas pump. Also, there may be far fewer full-size light truck choices and many may not have the power, torque and/or four-wheel drive that many consumers need.

Unfortunately the only conversation occurring is that there will be savings at the gas pump. There's no discussion about the myriad other costs, including lifestyle and personal safety compromises that are certain to result as vehicle size and capacity shrink.

It is the "fine print" that consumers need to see today, not years from now when the term sticker shock is likely to have new meaning. SUVOA's prediction: There will be a tremendous uptick in the used vehicle market because many will say, "the just don't build them like they used to."



The following is a statement from Ford Motor Company on the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 by the House of Representatives:

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 6, 2007 -- "The House energy bill is an important step towards increasing the national fuel economy standard. It accomplishes our shared goal of reducing the nation's dependence on foreign oil and emissions of greenhouse gases.

While the new standards are aggressive, Ford is committed to providing our customers with the fuel efficient, clean, safe, high quality products they want and value.

It is a substantial improvement over the Senate energy bill passed in June, because it maintains the separation of cars and trucks, provides flexibility to manufacturers and encourages the production of flex fuel vehicles."

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