Study: EPA underestimated cost of truck-emission controls

March 8, 2012

The National Automobile Dealers Assn. (NADA) and American Truck Dealers (ATD) just released a new report  that calls into question the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) cost analysis of emissions control requirements for model year  2004-2010 medium- and heavy-duty trucks.  The two groups claimed that those clean-air mandates resulted in substantially higher prices for commercial vehicles and depressed sales as well as delaying the environmental benefits that the EPA originally sought.

“Until now, few studies have ever compared the EPA’s cost predictions to the actual cost of meeting its motor vehicle emissions mandates,” said a joint NADA-ATD statement. “The study, which looks back at the 2004-2010 medium- and heavy-duty truck emissions mandates, reveals that the EPA underestimated actual compliance costs on average by a factor of two to five. It shows what can happen when a regulatory proposal – based on far in-advance predictions – seeks to set mandates far in the future. Importantly, the study documents the real-world market disruptions that can occur as a result.”

The statement went on to say that the lessons learned “apply directly to the proposed  2017-2025 fuel economy regulations for light-duty vehicles.” NADA and ATD stated that that rulemaking, combined with previous Obama administration fuel economy mandates, will raise the average price of a vehicle by $3,000, according to EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates.

“When faced with unreasonable federal regulatory mandates that increase motor vehicle costs, buyers of light-duty vehicles – similar to what commercial truck buyers experienced – will seek out less expensive alternatives in the marketplace,” the statement concluded.

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