Higher MPG Standards: Why NADA has "Nada"

Car dealers like to portray themselves as the bastions of small town America and the voice of small businesses.  So, when they speak, Congress often listens. But sometimes, the members of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) get it wrong.

Case in point:  the recently announced auto pollution and fuel efficiency standards. The truth is that NADA members do not speak on this issue for small businesses that populate Main Street America. In fact, a whopping 87 percent of small businesses believe it’s important for the United States to take action now to increase fuel efficiency in cars and light trucks, according to a new survey from Small Business Majority.

Not only is NADA out of  step with small businesses owners, they also are in disagreement with automakers (who might just know a thing or two about cars!), the United Auto Workers (UAW), American consumers, and environment, science and public health experts.   

Essentially, NADA has nada to back up its extreme and isolated position on stronger pollution and fuel efficiency standards.

Just how big is the gap here? The Small Business Majority poll of 1,257 small business owners across the United States also found that these individuals overwhelmingly support (80 percent) increasing fuel efficiency standards to significantly higher levels.  In addition, 73 percent of small business owners believe the federal government should do more to make American car companies innovate and 71 percent believe American car companies do not innovate enough.

The NADA claim that new rules will lead to job losses has already been roundly disproved.

Ceres released a report in late July showing that under a standard requiring fuel economy increases of four percent a year between 2017 and 2025, the equivalent of about 51 MPG by 2025, about 484,000 U.S. jobs would be created by 2030.  Also, a recent report by NRDC, the UAW and National Wildlife Federation showed that “clean and efficient vehicle component suppliers are responsible for employing 150,000 workers directly and for employing hundreds of thousands of others indirectly.” It also stated: “Employment at these supplier facilities will grow as more fuel-saving technologies are added to the vehicle fleet.”

The auto dealers also have claimed the new standards will be too costly.  But a report from Citi Investment Research released in March 2011 showed that under the most stringent standard under consideration – 6 percent annual improvement  per year or 62 MPG – globally, automakers variable profits would increase by 8 percent by 2020, with the Detroit 3 seeing an even higher 12 percent profit increase. It is reasonable to assume if automakers profits increase, auto dealers would as well.

Automakers need to know what to expect to plan their future lineups and these new standards, which are agreed on by the White House and auto industry, and supported by the UAW, American consumers, national security groups, Republicans, economists, business leaders and environmental groups, are achievable, will save consumers money, will save America from consuming billions of gallons of oil and producing tons of carbon pollution, and will create jobs.

By making the decision to oppose new fuel economy standards, the NADA is doing nothing but isolating itself.  We hope they will take stock of the information showing jobs and profits can increase with new fuel economy standards and Americans can save money at the pump, decrease our dangerous addiction to oil and improve the environment by decreasing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.