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RVIA Facing Uphill Battle on Mileage Standards

Posted By Bob Ashley On May 22, 2009 @ 3:44 pm In Breaking News | Comments Disabled

With struggling American automotive manufacturers agreeing to work toward a dramatic increase in fuel economy over the next seven years, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) finds its hands tied in efforts to realistically influence the outcome of any national energ Wind Power, Wind Turbine Blades, Home Wind Turbines-75% Comm. y-related issues.

That, says RVIA President Richard Coon, is why RVIA won’t be taking a more aggressive stand against the national CAFE standards proposed this week by President Obama.

“The RVIA doesn’t have any leverage,” Coon told RVBusiness. “We are still opposed to CAFE increases. We are just as adamant.”

In a press release earlier this week, RVIA urged Congress and the Obama administration to take into consideration the need the RV industry has for heavier tow vehicles.

Although Chrysler LLC is in bankruptcy and General Motors Corp. faces a June 1 deadline to restructure, automakers apparently have accepted standards laid out by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and endorsed on Tuesday by President Obama.

Under the plan endorsed by President Obama that still needs to go through Congress and the regulatory process, cars and light trucks together would need to average 35.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2016 with car standards rising from the current 27.5 mpg to 39 mpg and light trucks increasing to 30 mpg from 24 mpg.

That has many in the RV industry worried that automakers soon won’t be building trucks with enough horsepower to tow larger travel trailers and fifth-wheels.

Coon said that RVIA will continue to work with a coalition that includes the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), American Recreation Coalition (ARC), National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the SUV Owners of America to limit fuel-mileage increases outlined by Obama.

California’s air board was preparing to set its own standard by limiting tailpipe emissions on vehicles sold in that state, and 16 other states were considering adopting CARB-like standards.

“Not having all the states setting their own standards is a plus,” Coon said. “But when you look at the auto manufacturers, they’ve got big problems at the moment and CAFE just adds to their barrel of misery.”

The 2016 date would move up by four years standards signed by President Bush in 2008 requiring auto manufacturers to meet a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.

Pickup and medium-duty trucks used for towing RVs are scheduled to be the target of a separate set of standards to be established by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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