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EPA angers Congress with denial of California waiver request

November 16, 2010

By Ray Scarpelli Sr., Metro Chicago NADA Director

The administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency on Jan. 24 defended his decision to reject California’s attempt to set tough limits on global-warming pollutants from cars and trucks, saying the state was not suffering from "compelling and extraordinary" problems because of its emissions. As expected, his decision is facing strong congressional opposition.

The NADA supports the national 35 mpg standard increase signed into law by President Bush and the EPA’s decision to deny California’s attempt to implement its own emissions rules. The NADA also opposes any effort to overturn the EPA’s decision, which would undermine the new fuel economy increase. Approval of the California waiver could lead to a patchwork of state environmental regulations that would threaten vehicle availability, affordability, safety and the ability of dealers to engage in interstate vehicle sales and trades.

Johnson’s decision blocked California from forcing automakers to meet a fuel economy standard of about 40.5 mpg on vehicles under 3,750 pounds by 2016. Fourteen other states have adopted California’s proposed law, and four others are considering it.

This is the first-ever waiver request that involves greenhouse gases; all previous waivers addressed atmospheric pollutants that created local and regional air quality concerns. But greenhouse gases are a global concern. Furthermore, California’s overly aggressive mandate and its short lead time would have resulted in the manufacture of vehicles that consumers either would not want or could not afford to buy. That’s why this request required a fundamentally different analysis and a fundamentally different approach. It’s also why a solution must be addressed at the national level.

An aggressive and achievable federal fuel economy standard, according to the NADA, is the approach that is most likely to provide the most benefit to the greatest number of people, and that’s precisely what the Energy Bill establishes.

In other NADA news . . .
• NADA Used Car Guide, the industry standard in used-vehicle valuation and information, celebrates its 75th anniversary with a new logo marking its proud heritage and a host of innovative products for today’s rapidly changing automotive marketplace.

"The NADA has provided the industry’s most comprehensive and market-reflective vehicle valuation information for 75 years, and we’re proud of our accomplishment," said Mike Stanton, vice president and chief operating officer of NADA Used Car Guide. "We’re also moving to build on our successful history by offering our customers new products and services that will help them make better decisions in today’s highly competitive market."

In today’s volatile market, government, insurance, banking, OEMs, dealers and consumers look to the NADA for its values provided in guidebooks, CDs and Web-based products. Recently expanded products and services include:

• NADA B2B Online — The world’s most comprehensive online database of values for a wide array of used cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, recreation vehicles, farm equipment and more.

• — A leading consumer vehicle valuation and information site providing pricing information, research tools, products and services, and attracting more than 6.5 million visitors monthly.

• AuctionNet — An industry-unique wholesale auction data network in partnership with the National Auto Auction Association (NAAA), representing more than 80 percent of total auction transactions.

The NADA continues to enhance its full product and service lineup to deliver information that empowers users to make educated business decisions. Its dedicated mission for 75 years continues in 2008 with the planned introductions of new online and mobile products, as well as additional consulting and analytical services.

Outgoing NADA Chairman Dale Willey said auto dealers and manufacturers will have to carefully manage their businesses and work together more closely if they are to survive in the current economic climate.

Speaking at the 2008 Automotive News World Congress on Jan. 23, Willey said the decline in U.S. consumer confidence, warnings of an economic downturn, and increased government regulations on the auto industry and dealers mean there’s little room for error for dealers.

"We need to be spot-on in that we align customers with the right vehicles," he said. Manufacturers should also consult with dealers more on future products because the dealers are on "the front lines" and know which products and features sell. Willey called for manufacturers to treat all dealers fairly when it comes to incentives. He said if manufacturers allow some dealers to offer better deals than others, the result is customer confusion. "Confusion can corrode the brand," Willey said.