Obama’s New Fuel Efficiency Standards Hurt Small-Business Truckers the Most

Last month, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation finalized new fuel-efficiency standards for medium and heavy-duty vehicles including 18-wheelers, pick-up trucks, delivery vans, and even school buses.

Set to take effect in 2018, the new standards will vary depending on the size of the vehicle. Bigger trucks that have a tractor and a trailer will have to increase their fuel efficiency by 25%, which could cost up to $15,100 per vehicle. Smaller vehicles will face less burdensome standards ranging from 2.5% to 9%.

Many of the larger truck manufactures and operators of large commercial trucking fleets support the Administration’s new standards, but for small-business truckers with smaller profit margins, this regulation could potentially drive them out of business. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the American Truck Dealers both voiced concerns over the new standards. According to Scott Grenerth, regulatory affairs director for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, “One truck going down, that is huge, huge impact. There is very little room for error in an industry that calculates things down to the penny per mile.”

Unfortunately, this latest regulation represents just a fraction of the total cost of regulation imposed by the Obama Administration. According to Heritage research, President Obama’s regulatory legacy already costs American taxpayers $108 billion a year.

Ironically, the justification for these new fuel efficiency standards is to combat climate change, but according to Heritage Foundation environmental analyst Nick Loris, “Regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—be it from cars, power plants, fracking, airplanes, or whatever—have little to no impact on global temperatures. We’re talking a difference of maybe a fraction of a degree tops, and that’s 100 years down the line.”

Congress should not allow the Obama Administration to continue imposing billions of dollars’ worth of rules and regulations on the U.S. economy, especially regulation that claims to combat climate change. Congress must respond to these fuel-efficient standards by passing legislation banning the EPA and all federal agencies from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

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