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New Energy Law Boosts MPG Standard

President Bush on December 19 signed into law a wide-reaching energy bill that mandates new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. New auto fleets will be required to average 35 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2020, 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. Separate fuel economy standards for cars and trucks will be maintained with different standards to be set for “work trucks” - pickup trucks with GVWRs between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds - and for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

“Adequate towing capacity should be preserved 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 distinction between cars and light trucks.”

"We’re very pleased that the legislation will continue to maintain that separation and take functionality and usage under consideration,” Coon added.

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.

Category: RVIA

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