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Congressional report: fuel standards for HD vehicles impedes economic growth

A Congressional report blames Obama administration rules for blocking economic growth. The committee that released the report is chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., above.

The Trucker News Services

7/26/2012

WASHINGTON — The new fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles for model year 2014-2016 is cited in a Congressional report as one of several impediments to economic expansion and job growth.

The report, titled “Continuing Oversight of Regulatory Impediments to Job Creation: Job Creators Still Buried by Red Tape,” was released July 19 by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

The committee is chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

The report is immediately critical of the Obama administration.

“Rules and red tape imposed by the federal government choke economic expansion and job growth, according to job creators themselves,” the opening statement of the report summary reads. “Despite hearing this message loud and clear, regulations implemented during the Obama administration have moved aggressively in the opposite direction — the regulatory state continues to grow, adding billions of dollars in compliance costs to businesses and job creators. These costs will ultimately be paid by consumers.”

The report notes that while administration officials boast that Obama has issued fewer regulations than his predecessors, the committee’s analysis indicates the current administration has issued far more of the most expensive group of regulations with a higher overall economic cost.

The committee cited information received from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) in its criticism of the heavy-duty truck fuel standards

“These standards will negatively affect small business and independent truckers,” the report said. “According to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, ‘the Environmental Protection Agency took a one-size-fits-all approach to this regulation, forcing down technologies that may save fuel.’ The new regulation will drive up the price of new trucks by at least $6,200, according to EPA’s own calculations.

The information from OOIDA was taken from a June 1 letter from OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer to Issa and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, chairman of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending.

“Trucking is a hyper-competitive industry, with motor carriers often operating on extremely thin margins,” Spencer wrote, noting that 93 percent of all carriers have less than 20 trucks in their fleet, and 78 percent of carriers have fleets of just six or fewer trucks.  “As such, any cost increase has a direct impact on the operating budgets of our businesses, and for many within trucking those business budgets are also the family budget.  Extra dollars spent to meet regulatory mandates means fewer dollars to spend on adding a new driver, buying a new truck or trailer, making needed repairs, or meeting basic household expenses like a mortgage payment.”

While the focus of the report was on energy, environmental labor and financial services regulations, the committee said many other regulations previously brought to the committee’s attention “also remain a concern.”

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Although it did not go into detail, the report listed several trucking-related regulations it considered potentially “problematic.”

Those include:

• Hours of Service

• Duplicative CDL background checks and credentialing for hazardous materials drivers

• A broaden definition of a tank truck

• A rule that requires truckers to submit a copy of their annual biennial medical certificate to the state agency that issues their CDL

• A rule that requires carriers to review every driver’s motor vehicle record annually to ensure that they are safe and qualified to continue driving despite the fact that many trucking companies review their drivers’ record, anyway, every time they received a driving violation.

• CSA

• Expectation of a proposed rule for judging safety for motor carriers.

• EOBR mandate

• Proposed electronic stability control rulemaking for heavy trucks, and

• A heavy vehicle speed limiter proposed rule.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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