Seth Michaels, from the Union of Concerned Scientists, recently said in an email that, "we'll be hearing a lot from majority members and their key witnesses on problems with the national fuel economy standards" and said he believes that, the "spin from auto industry trade groups has been very misleading." A just-issued report by the Center For Automotive Research (CAR) could be seen as an example of this. CAR isn't a part of the majority party in Congress and isn't on the speaker's list for the hearing, but the timing is notable. CAR is, as Automotive News says, "a research organization supported by funding from state and federal government, industry associations, corporations and foundations." And it certainly released its report at an opportune time.
using less gas is a positive, worthwhile goal for public health, for consumers, for climate, whether or not Joe Barton agrees— Seth D. Michaels (@sethdmichaels) September 22, 2016
This report is intentionally one-sided. It focuses on the economic impacts of higher fuel economy levels, but it doesn't equally address the broader picture. For example, it doesn't mention the environmental impacts of higher fuel economy levels. It also only mentions the health effects of greenhouse gases once, for example, and that's just to say that the EPA has said that GHGs are dangerous to humans. To be fair, that sort of context isn't in the scope of the paper's title: An Assessment of Powertrain Technology Costs Associated with Meeting CAFE and GHG Standards. CAR ducks responsibility by saying, "Due to time and resource constraints, the CAR team did not investigate indirect costs." Fine. To be real, though, what good is a report that only looks at some of the important data?
You can download CAR's report for yourself here and follow Michaels on Twitter (he's live-tweeting the hearing) here. You can also watch the hearing live in the video above.