Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 2017 SDADA Column

In this space last month, you may recall that I hoped that President Trump would bring some common sense to the idea of clean air standards and fuel economy. I suggested that dealers  just want affordable options that serve our customers needs. If those are electric, fuel cell or other alternative energy options, that is fine.

Well, in the "Be Careful What You Ask For" file, President Donald Trump recently ordered a review of U.S. vehicle fuel-efficiency standards put in place by Obama. The move is viewed as a victory to the  auto industry and it incited criticism from Democrats and environmental groups.

While this order is simply to review the industry-wide standard of more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025 that the Obama administration and the EPA called for, it is a move widely seen as a prelude to relaxing fuel standards.

The 2011 deal called for the EPA to conduct a “mid-term review” of rules for 2022-25 by April 2018. Just before leaving office, however, Obama decided to forgo the 2018 review and ruled that no change in the regulations was warranted for 2022-25.

While Trump took this action in the name of a larger movement to  will pursue tax and regulatory policies that would benefit U.S. manufacturers, it has a more direct impact on ag country dealers and our customers.

As I said in my column last month, there is not a 50 MPG pickup that will do what farmers, ranchers and other commercial customers need it to do - at least not at a price point that will work for them.

I think I speak for ALL automobile dealers when I say just let us sell what our customers want at a price they can afford!

Thune Backs Autonomous Cars

Senator Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee which oversees the auto industry, supports legislation that will remove hurdles for manufacturers of self-driving cars. The Senator recently had the opportunity to ride in a driverless vehicle.

The auto industry is looking for federal regulations for autonomous vehicles to avoid a patchwork of laws state by state, which would make testing difficult. The federal regulation is deemed necessary for wide availability of the self-driving vehicles.

Thune appears to be a supporter of the technology saying, “I’m a big believer that things that are currently being done, tests that are being run are going to lead us to a point where ultimately someday a lot of this technology is commercialized in the marketplace and is going to achieve safer roads and increase human productivity" after a recent "test drive" of an autonomous vehicle in Washington, DC.

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