Bipartisanship: Mich. delegation slams Obama's new mpg standards

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Michigan congressional delegation has sent a bipartisan letter to President Obama criticizing the 52.6 mile per gallon fuel economy mandate for vehicles made between model years 2017-2025 that the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce in September. The presence of Democrats on this letter might indicate that Obama’s green car policy fell afoul of the Michigan UAW.

With the exception of Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., every member of the Michigan delegation signed the letter, including Democratic Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow. Such near-unanimity springs from the expectation that the new fuel economy standards would hammer Michigan's long-suffering economy, which has long been worst in the country since well before the financial crisis hit.

“We believe that the overall targets currently proposed may exceed the what is technologically achievable for the U.S. automakers that produce and sell the majority of the pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles that U.S families and businesses – and tens of thousands of autoworkers – depend upon,” the legislators wrote. 

In what might be a nod to conservative critics who think the Administration disrespects consumer choice, the letter warned that proposed regulations might “prevent [auto manufacturers] from selling these larger vehicles that U.S. consumers want.” Such policies would have a “discriminatory impact” against American automakers in particular, which have specialized in larger vehicles to accommodate demand by families with children. 

The letter also questioned the authority of the EPA to regulate fuel economy, and the emphasized that the EPA should not be allowed to issue such regulations for model years so far into the future. Such a move “could have a detrimental effect on the U.S. economy,” wrote the delegation, because the Obama Administration cannot predict technological developments so far in advance.

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