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NADA, EPA unveil energy efficiency initiative for dealers

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

The NADA and the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program have launched a joint Energy Stewardship Initiative to help auto dealers improve the energy efficiency of their facilities and operations. 


The initiative, unveiled at the Washington (D.C.) Auto Show, provides data, tools, and other strategies for dealers to implement improved energy practices and technologies at their facilities. It builds on the recent joint efforts of the NADA and ENERGY STAR last year to develop and distribute an educational guide for dealers, "Putting Energy into Profits."


"Dealers are committed to improving energy efficiency in their businesses, to protect the environment and reduce overhead costs, and this initiative is a very important step toward that goal," said 2007 NADA Chairman Dale Willey.


"America’s auto dealers are delivering more than great cars," said Bill Wehrum, acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. "They are driving energy savings up and costs down, while leading the way to a healthier environment and a stronger economy. The NADA’s response to the ENERGY STAR Challenge is an example of exceptional leadership at work."


The NADA and ENERGY STAR will recognize dealers who achieve annual energy savings of 10 percent or higher. By reducing energy consumption by 10 percentindustrywide, dealerships could save nearly $193 million and prevent more than 1 million tons of greenhouse gases annually.


Grassroots involvement


Few on Capitol Hill have a better understanding of how legislation affects auto dealerships than Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.). Campbell, who was elected a year ago in a special election, spent 25 years as an auto dealer before entering the political arena. 


Campbell met this month with several new NADA directors and ATD board representatives from across the country. At the outset, Campbell stressed the importance of dealers’ grassroots involvement in the legislative process and encouraged the assembled dealers to take advantage of the benefits of NADA membership. He also discussed many of the issues facing the new Congress and how certain proposals impact the industry, issues ranging from small business health care plans to the LIFO accounting method to environmental issues—a hot topic in Washington lately.


In particular, Campbell spoke of efforts to increase CAFE standards and reduce greenhouse gases and other emissions control policies being proposed since Democrats took control of Congress. After several years in the California state legislature, he has a solid understanding of how state and federal attempts to rein-in global warming would affect dealers. With some senior legislators calling global warming "the greatest challenge of our generation," Campbell emphasized the need to preserve fuel choices and the ability of auto manufacturers to develop new technologies to reduce harmful emissions without mandates that would compromise consumer choice, affordability, and passenger safety.


Crain: Industry shock ahead

Keith Crain, publisher of Automotive News, opines: "With the notable exception of John Dingell, the longtime Democratic congressman from Dearborn, Mich., most members of Congress seem ready to make a name for themselves on the back of the auto industry. It is scary to imagine all the possible new laws and regulations being thought of in the halls of Congress. The potential is enough to make anyone nervous. About the best ally the automobile industry has in Washington these days is the NADA, an organization chock-full of members who know and support the hometown members of Congress. If the automakers want help in Washington, they had better be on the right side of the NADA because that may be the strongest voice this industry has for the next couple of years. Congress will raise plenty of issues in the next few months, and it will be important that all the auto companies are in harmony, something we haven’t seen very often in the past 50 years. This is an interesting time for the car business, but be ready for a bit of a fight."


April next Career Month

Automotive Career Month is earlier this year, in April. The changed date makes it easier for dealers to arrange events with schools. It is also closer to the end of the school year, so dealers can arrange for students to apply for summer jobs or permanent employment at their dealerships as they plan for the future. Set a date for your event and start contacting schools to invite students. This year’s event planning kit includes a timeline and lots of new information taken from dealers and students on putting together a program that will be both instructive and engaging.  See to order your kit today.