Monday, April 5, 2010

Auto Dealers Resist Move to Hybrids and Higher Fuel Efficiency

Mercedes S400 Hybrid

Mercedes S400 hybrid.

The new federal fuel efficiency rules announced last week by the Environmental Protection Agency were hailed as a major success by the Obama administration and embraced by carmakers. But many car dealers�the folks closest to the consumer, and the point of sale�are still dragging their feet on hybrids and other fuel-efficient options.

�SWith tight family budgets and a shaky job outlook, consumers want to maximize their transportation dollars, not pay more for redundant rules and an unnecessary bureaucracy,⬝ said Ed Tonkin, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, in an official statement. �SUnder these new mandates, the price of new cars and light trucks will rise significantly, meaning fewer Americans will be able to buy the new vehicles of their choice.⬝


Based on the new rules, the average fuel economy for cars is estimated to be 37.8 mpg by 2016, while light trucks are expected to average 28.8 mpg. Automakers are expected to produce all kinds of hybrids in greater numbers to meet the targets�and will get bonus credits for building electric cars, plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell models.

The cost of developing the more fuel-efficient fleet is pegged at $52 billion. Obama administration officials said the rules would raise the average price of a new vehicle by less than $1,000 in the 2016 model year and that many consumers would earn back the cost in fuel savings over three years.

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