The auto industry is supporting the new Levin-Bond Amendment—developed by Michigan Democratic Senators Levin and Stabenow, and now presented with broader co-sponsorship—to the Senate energy bill. This amendment establishes fuel economy standards of 36 mpg by 2022 for cars and 30 mpg by 2025 for trucks—a fuel economy proposal that is less aggressive that the proposal currently in the bill, and mirroring the targets of the pending House bill. (Earlier post.)
In an email sent to more than 30,000 US employees late Thursday, Chrysler Group President and Chief Executive Officer Tom LaSorda voiced his support for proposed legislation, saying that “it constitutes an acceptable approach because...[it] respects the challenge of developing affordable technologies and recognizes that there are inherent differences between cars and trucks.” The existing proposal in the bill calls for combined car and truck fuel economy of 35 mpg by 2020, with a 4% annual increase thereafter.
While it will be a stretch to meet the CAFE goals of the Levin-Bond Amendment, the impact of the proposed energy bill (H.R. 6) without the amendment would cripple our business.—Tom LaSorda
Those supporting the Levin-Bond Amendment include Toyota, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Porsche, VW, Chrysler, the UAW and National Automobile Dealers Association, according to LaSorda.
Among the measures of the Levin-Bond Amendment are:
Mandatory 30% ramp up of fuel economy standards to at least 36 mpg for cars by 2022 and at least 30 mpg for trucks by 2025 (actual standards set to maximum achievable levels at or above these floors by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—NHTSA).
No “off-ramps” permitting lower standards. The concept of off-ramps is in the current proposal—i.e., if it is determined that the specified fuel economy target isn’t possible, it could be adjusted downward.
Authorizes NHTSA to set attribute-based, multiple model year standards for passenger vehicles, as well as new commercial medium- and heavy-duty on-highway vehicle standards.
Requires each manufacturer to produce (and sell) 50% advanced technology vehicles (such as hybrids or clean diesel) or flexible fuel vehicles by 2015.
By 2017, at least 10% of those vehicles must be advanced technology.
Provides an even playing field for all advanced technology and flexible fuel technologies.
Extends credits for flexible fuel vehicles to support greater demand and availability of ethanol and consumer acceptance of these vehicles and then phases out the credit by 2020.
Authorizes increased funding for research, development and demonstration in the areas of advanced batteries, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, clean diesel, diesel hybrids, and flex fuel hybrid technologies, hydrogen storage and fuel cell membranes; as well as cellulosic-based ethanol, and other biofuels, such as biodiesel, to replace conventional diesel fuel.
Prohibits anti-competitive barriers that limit the ability of service station retailers to sell biofuels such as E85.
Requires the Secretary of Energy and Secretary of Transportation to conduct a study of the feasibility of the construction of dedicated ethanol pipelines.
Expands access to alternative fuel refueling stations on federal property.