MPG Upgrade Opposed by Auto Industry

MPG Upgrade Opposed by Auto Industry



Two years after American carmakers and President Barack Obama embraced grand plans for new gas mileage standards, the U.S. auto industry, which rebounded after government bailouts, is now strongly opposing high efficiency targets for next generation vehicles.

Starting Thursday, an advertising blitz will be launched in seven politically vital states and will feature warnings against what the auto industry perceives as overenthusiastic government regulation and the danger of worker layoffs.

A portion of the ads say, “Some in Washington have suggested as much as a 100 percent increase over current standards. Imagine how that would affect our state.  Families would be hit with higher car prices.  Small businesses dependent on vans, SUVs or pickups would face limited vehicle choice. And, even the government is predicting a drop in auto sales from what amounts to an electric vehicle mandate.”

This campaign, courtesy of the auto industry, comes as the White House and the automakers, led by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, are discussing the framework of new fuel-efficiency standards for cars, as well as light trucks to be manufactured starting 2017.

With the increasing sales of fuel-efficient vehicles, car manufacturers agree that their practicability lies on building more of them. However, they say that they are worried about potential sales losses if they will be obliged to move too far and too fast.

In May 2009, after going through economic woes, as well as legal defeats, car company chief executives stood with President Obama at the Rose Garden in the White House in an extraordinary display of unity over huge increases to auto and truck fuel efficiency.

However, after a brief period of harmony between the two sides, industry opposition developed. Today, solidarity with the White House back in 2009 is now replaced by attack ads.