CAFE Standards: The Debate Continues for RV Tow Vehicles
Congress is currently discussing an energy bill that will have significant impact on motor vehicle fuel economy requirements (mpg) and a consequent impact on RV tow vehicles. One of the key components of that bill is an increase in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which is the way the federal government regulates how many miles per gallon the car/truck companies have to get from their fleet of cars and light-trucks.
This is a significant issue for the RVers because it affects the type and availability of tow vehicles. CAFE also impacts engine size, low end torque, towing capacity and, of course, price. It is essential that automobile manufacturers continue to produce appropriate tow vehicles in sufficient numbers to address the needs of RVers (not to mention other towable products that require trailers such as boats, horses, ATVs, snowmobiles, jet skis and motorcycles.)
While most everyone now agrees that CAFE standards need to be increased, the Senate and House have not agreed on any specific language. In fact, the House is significantly divided. Speaker Pelosi wants to adopt the Senate passed H.R. 6 which would require 35 mpg by model year 2020 and would not maintain the separate fuel standards for cars and trucks. But there is significant support for a bi-partisan bill (H.R. 2927) sponsored by Representatives Baron Hill (R-IN) and Lee Terry (D-NE) which would require cars to get 35 mpg and light trucks 32 mpg by model year 2022. The Hill-Terry bill is supported by RVIA, RVDA, American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and many more associations and coalitions, including the automobile industry.
The RV industry has been asking for language in the bill, or at least the Committee report, that requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to take "towing capability" into consideration when they develop future CAFE standards. Additionally, the industry feels that it is very important to maintain the distinction between cars and light trucks. This distinction will help allow car manufacturers to produce a greater number of tow vehicles.
We at Escapees fear that the Senate bill, which removes the car/light truck distinction, may have a significant negative impact on future RVers. The Hill-Terry bill, on the other hand, proposes aggressive but manageable CAFE standards, which should allow for the continued existence of adequate tow vehicles for RVers. Escapees as an organization will join RVIA, RVDA and other RV organizations in supporting the Hill-Terry bill, and we ask that our members consider joining us in this effort. However, you may wish to do your own research and formulate your own opinion on the CAFE standards issue.
The behind the scenes discussions on Capitol Hill are happening now and are expected to last approximately two weeks so the window of opportunity is short. Your letters or emails need to be sent as soon as possible to have an impact!
One easy way to contact your representatives in Congress is to visit the website:
There you will find an editable letter that you can alter to reflect your opinion and easily print for mailing, or you can send it via email directly to your representative using the RVAct site’s email system.
You can also contact your representatives directly by visiting:
www.house.gov/writerep/ for the House of Representatives.
www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm for the Senate.