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Latest on CAFE

November 17, 2010
By Ray Scarpelli Sr., Metro Chicago NADA Director

The NADA and the American Truck Dealers are directly engaged in the CAFE debate. On May 7, NADA/ATD sent a letter to each member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which was considering legislation that arbitrarily increases corporate average fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks and, for the first time, applied CAFE standards to medium- and heavy-duty trucks.


The bill, as passed by the Senate committee on May 8, does not take into account either the realities of the marketplace or consumer demand when setting these new CAFE standards. Also in the letter, NADA/ATD expressed concerns with the truck provisions in the bill because they disregard the economics of the truck market that already drive fuel economy in far more powerful ways than any CAFE mandate.


The bill, as passed by the Senate committee, would:  

  • Increase CAFE standards for cars and light trucks to 35 mpg over the next 12 years, with a 4 percent increase every year thereafter. The current standard for passenger cars is 27.5 mpg and 22.2 for light trucks.
  • Require that medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturers increase their vehicles’ efficiency by 4 percent a year beginning in 2011.   

Both Michigan senators—Democrats Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow—the United Auto Workers, and several auto industry representatives have testified before the committee. Levin and Stabenow called on their colleagues to temper their approach to enhance the nation’s energy security by considering the effects that any CAFE legislation may have on the domestic auto industry.  


The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers called on lawmakers to ensure that any new mandates are not only technologically achievable, with adequate lead time to meet them, but also not harmful to one technology or manufacturer. 

Dealers are encouraged to stay in regular contact with their senators to remind them of the important place the American consumer plays in this debate. TheNADA’s legislative office will ask dealers to contact key senators at the appropriate time. Additionally, ATD is working with the truck manufacturers, and encourages truck dealers to do the same, to present a united industry position to Congress on this issue.


In other legislative, legal and regulatory news: 

Women denied sales jobs reap $2.3 million in EEOC case


Following a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a Midwest dealership chain has agreed to pay 39 female applicants $2.3 million in back pay and damages. The dealerships also agreed to provide nondiscrimination training for managers, give priority to future female applicants, and file semiannual reports with the EEOC. 

For help in "harassment-proofing" your dealership, see the NADA bulletin, "Sexual Harassment Protection Your Insurer Can’t Provide," available online at, or at 800-252-6232, ext. 2. As the bulletin states, and this EEOC action illustrates, sexual harassment can disrupt the workplace, violate state and federal law, and be costly to the dealership in money and lost reputation. Also useful is the NADA management guide, "Diversity as a Business Imperative."


EPA Extends SPCC Compliance Dates 

The Environmental Protection Agency this year eased the burden on dealerships storing liquids in aboveground tanks. Now, the EPA has extended the compliance dates for dealerships and others subject to Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure plans. Dealers who started operations on or before Aug. 16, 2002, must maintain their existing SPCC plan and amend and implement the plan no later than July 1, 2009. Those who began operations Aug. 17, 2002, through July 1, 2009, must prepare and put in place their SPCC plan by July 1, 2009. And those who will begin operations after July 1, 2009, must prepare and implement their SPCC plan before beginning operations.


For more information, see or contact NADA Regulatory Affairs at 703-821-7040 or  

In NADA  news:


NADA Public Affairs Launches Mobile-Friendly Version of Web Site  

NADA Public Affairs has launched a streamlined mobile version of its flagship Web site, The new site offers easier access and better readability for users of mobile devices such as BlackBerry and Treo.


The mobile version enhancements includes consolidated page layouts to reduce or eliminate horizontal scrolling.