United Auto Workers union backs Biden fuel economy proposal

WASHINGTON, Oct 27 (Reuters) – The United Auto Workers union backs U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration’s proposed tougher vehicle fuel economy requirements but does not support even more stringent requirements that some environmental groups have sought.

The union outlined its position in written comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which set a deadline of Oct. 26 for comments, which were still being posted on Wednesday.

In August, the NHTSA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)proposed new tougher vehicle efficiency and emissions rules after the Trump administration rolled back Obama-era requirements.

NHTSA’s proposed rule “strikes the right balance of continuing to improve fleet fuel economy, sets targets that are achievable and encourages automakers to invest in new technologies,” the UAW said, warning tougher requirements “could undermine the overall achievability of regulations … and fail to acknowledge the industry disruptions of recent years.”

The Consumer Federation of America urged NHTSA to adopt a more stringent alternative – 10% increases annually – saying it would save consumers at least $28 billion.

 General Motors (GM.N) said on Wednesday that differences between the EPA and NHTSA proposals “could make vehicles with tailpipes the mainstream compliance solution … Every dollar spent propping up legacy engines is a dollar not spent on the investments necessary for future battery electric vehicles.”

The Sierra Club environmental group criticized the NHTSA for offering “loopholes” that would “allow automakers to double down on gas-guzzlers” and award “credits for technology that doesn’t actually slash emissions.”

 The UAW supports NHTSA’s proposed “restoration of incentives for hybrid or overperforming pickups.”

A group of 22 state attorneys general and several major U.S. cities urged the NHTSA to consider “even more stringent standards.” In September, they urged EPA to finalize more stringent requirements.

 EPA spokesman Nick Conger said the agency intends to finalize the rule by Dec. 31.
Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Grant McCool
Source : Reuters