New CAFE standards allow for towing considerations (from RV Trade Digest)
RESTON, Va. – President Bush today signed into law the first increase in automobile fuel economy in 32 years, mandating automobile manufacturers meet a Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard of 35 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2020 for the new auto fleet, a 40 percent increase over the current 25 mpg.
While the new levels will encompass a majority of vehicles that tow RVs, there is good news for the RV industry in the legislation. First, separate fuel economy standards for cars and trucks will be maintained with different standards to be set for pickup trucks weighing between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds and for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Second, the framework for establishing fuel economy is based on “one or more vehicle attributes” which will allow consideration of vehicle towing capacity.
“Towing capacity will not be diminished under the new law, and that’s a solid victory for the RV industry,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “From the beginning, the automobile and RV industry’s primary goal has been to keep the designation between cars and light trucks. We’re very pleased that the legislation will continue to maintain that distinction and take functionality and usage under consideration.”
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) will oversee the development of separate CAFE standards that will apply to work-trucks and medium- and heavy-duty trucks. After working with the National Academy of Sciences and conducting studies over the next year, the agency will begin a lengthy regulatory process, during which RVIA and other industries will be able to provide input on the new standards.
“The good news is that there is plenty of time to get this right so that auto manufacturers can continue to build tow vehicles with enough power and heft to haul modern RVs,” said Coon