U.S. automakers that have been lobbying Congress for a rollback of fuel economy standards will get their wish if S.1273 becomes law. And while the CEO’s of the Big Three may be poised to pop the champagne corks over their anticipated profits for making less efficient vehicles, it’s hard to ignore the old saying, be careful what you wish for.
According to Consumers Union:
The bill would allow automakers to stall implementation of fuel-saving technologies across all vehicles, especially larger vehicles like SUVs and pick-up trucks, ultimately burdening consumers with higher fuel costs and harmful emissions.
Shannon Baker-Branstetter, policy counsel for Consumers Union and mobilization division of Consumer Reports said, “This bill is essentially a rollback of consumer protection standards that clean the air and save consumers money.”
What it all means is that consumers could end up paying up to $34 billion more in fuel costs each year, if they choose to buy American-made cars, trucks and SUV’s. And the last part is where the caveat lies for American automakers: While they may believe that consumers won’t care, studies say otherwise.
Morning Consult reports:
Automakers have enjoyed record profits and sales in recent years as they produce more efficient vehicles, and yet they have asked federal regulators to weaken standards and are leading the push to pass the Senate bill. The auto industry’s coordinated effort to undermine the fuel economy program is counter to what consumers say they want and to what automakers agreed to do back in 2012….
A recent survey showed that almost 90 percent of American consumers want better fuel economy for their vehicles, not worse. And when they start to feel the laziness of U.S. automakers in keeping up with more fuel efficient imports, will they ditch their American-made gas-guzzlers and switch to more economical foreign cars?
Rolling back fuel-saving standards and air pollution regulations do not benefit consumers. And in the long run, may not benefit American automakers either if it ends up driving their customers into the arms of foreign automakers.
It wasn’t so long ago that the shortsightedness of American automakers led them to getting caught with their proverbial pants down, which sent them running to the government looking for handouts to fend off bankruptcy. If they had been making cars people wanted to buy, like the fuel efficient ones America imports by the millions, they wouldn’t have given capitalism a bad name.
Lesson learned? Apparently not. Hello, Toyota.
Featured image via Public Domain Images
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