United Auto Workers union backs Biden’s fuel-saving proposal

A faded UAW Local 22 logo can be seen outside the United Auto Workers Union hall serving the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan, USA , November 26, 2018. REUTERS / Rebecca Cook

WASHINGTON, Oct.27 (Reuters) – The United Auto Workers union backs the stricter requirements proposed by the administration of US President Joe Biden for fuel economy for vehicles, but does not support even stricter requirements than some environmental groups have asked.

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

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

The rule proposed by NHTSA “strikes the right balance between continuing to improve the fuel economy of the fleet, setting achievable goals and encouraging automakers to invest in new technology,” said the UAW , warning that stricter requirements “could undermine the overall feasibility of regulations … and fail to recognize the industry disruptions of recent years.” “

NHTSA has proposed to increase energy efficiency by 8% per year for the 2024-2026 model years. The EPA’s plan proposes a 10% increase in emissions reductions in 2023, followed by 5% annual improvements over the next three model years.

The Consumers Federation of America has urged NHTSA to adopt a stricter alternative – a 10% increase per year – saying it will 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 primary compliance solution … Every dollar spent to support engines legacy is an unspent dollar for the investment needed for future battery electric vehicles. “

The Sierra Club environmental group criticized NHTSA for offering “loopholes” that “would allow automakers to double their gas mileage” and award “credits for technology that does not actually reduce emissions.”

UAW supports NHTSA’s “restoration of incentives for hybrid or overperforming pickup trucks”.

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

EPA spokesman Nick Conger said the agency intended to finalize the rule by December 31.

Reporting by David Shepardson; edited by Grant McCool

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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