UAW backs ‘strong’ fuel economy standards for 2025

July 18, 2011

UAW backs ‘strong’ fuel economy standards for 2025

/ Detroit News Washington Bureau
Washington— The Blue-Green Alliance, a group of unions and environmental groups including the United Auto Workers, urged the Obama administration to set “strong, feasible” fuel efficiency standards for the 2017-2025 model years.
“We have the opportunity to help save consumers money at the gas pump, create new American jobs, and strengthen the economy by setting strong fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards,” said the letter signed by UAW President Bob King, United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune and others.
The letter called on the administration to continue to support “federal efforts to assist the industry retool to meet demand for cleaner, more efficient cars,” but didn’t endorse a specific increase.
King met with lobbyists for U.S. automakers last week in Detroit to discuss the issue. He also met with environmentalists.
The letter comes amid intense talks at the White House today among automakers and the administration, as it races to reach a deal to more than double fuel efficiency standards.
The Obama administration would like to announce an agreement with major automakers over the next round of increases as soon as this week.
The administration told automakers it was considering requiring a fleetwide average of 56.2 mpg by 2025, an average annual increase of 5 percent per year for that period. That target could add at least $2,100 to the price of new vehicles — more for light trucks, the administration has said.
The White House had said previously it was considering requiring between 47 to 62 mpg by 2025.
Automakers have been pushing back, seeking to soften the proposal by getting additional credits to meet the requirements and instituting a mid-term review around 2020 to ensure the final requirements are achievable.
The administration has signaled in talks with automakers it is willing to require lower annual increases for light trucks — especially for the heaviest light trucks.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers — the trade association representing Detroit’s Big Three automakers, Toyota Motor Corp. and eight others — will start running ads Wednesday in 14 states warning about the dangers of overly aggressive fuel economy standards. The group declined to comment Monday on the UAW letter.
The administration will propose its new fuel economy standards in September.
In May 2009, the administration, automakers and California reached a deal to boost fuel efficiency standards by 40 percent to 34.1 mpg by 2016 — an increase that will cost the industry $51.5 billion over five years, by government estimates.
California and a dozen other states agreed not to impose state greenhouse gas limits through 2016. Now California is considering setting its own standards from 2017-2025 — a move automakers say would lead to an unworkable regulatory system.
See the letter:

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