Posted by Curt on 17 November, 2007 at 11:20 am. 1 comment.


If you had not heard, the 9th Circuit has ruled that President Bush’s revised automobile fuel economy standards were not good enough.

A federal appeals court here rejected the Bush administration’s year-old fuel-economy standards for light trucks and sport utility vehicles today. It said the rules were not tough enough because regulators had failed to thoroughly assess the economic impact of tailpipe emissions that contribute to climate change.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals voided the new regulations for 2008-2011 model year vehicles and told the Transportation Department to produce new rules taking into account the value of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The court, siding with four environmental groups and 13 states and cities, also asked the government to explain why it continued to consider light trucks — which include pickups, sports utility vehicles and minivans — more lightly than passenger cars.

You can read the ruling here.

Basically the new standards had the Department of Transportation modestly tighten the fuel economy for light trucks, but also gave the auto industry some flexibility by basing future light-truck fuel economy standards on vehicle size, rather then the overall fleet average.

Not good enough says the environmental groups, and the 9th Circuit agreed:

We hold that the Final Rule is arbitrary and capricious, contrary to
the EPCA in its failure to monetize the value of carbon missions, failure to set
a backstop, failure to close the SUV loophole, and failure to set fuel economy
standards for all vehicles in the 8,500 to 10,000 gross vehicle weight rating
(“GVWR”) class. We also hold that the Environmental Assessment was inadequate
and that Petitioners have raised a substantial question as to whether the Final
Rule may have a significant impact on the environment. Therefore, we remand to
NHTSA to promulgate new standards as expeditiously as possible and to prepare a
full Environmental Impact Statement.

So what do we get?


Instead of getting a modest increase in MPG for SUV’s the EPA will go back to the drawing board and hold more hearings, write new regulations and do this all over again.  The standards these environmental groups want are just not economically feasible.  It will ruin the auto makers.  Take it slow, let the technology creep up with the regulations and we will get there but this all or nothing mindset on fuel economy is bogus.  Now we get no modest increases.  What a victory for the environment.

But, this is the 9th Circuit we’re talking about here.  A reversal of their decision can almost always be counted on.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x