Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says President Obama’s announcement of new vehicle emissions standards today is a great idea, but suffers from poor timing. The president wants to radically cut tailpipe emissions in addition to requiring all new cars get better than 35-miles per gallon by 2016. Grassley says it’s an impractical order.
"I think it’s very detrimental to the domestic car industry," Grassley says. "When Ford has just barely got its head above water and Chrysler and General Motors are drowning, why would you want government regulation to make things more tough if you want to preserve the domestic car manufacturing business?" Just last week, Chrysler and G.M. announced hundreds of dealerships would be closed nationwide as the two automakers struggle to survive.
Administration officials say the new plan is expected to add 13-hundred dollars to the cost of a new vehicle. Grassley says Obama’s proposed environmental standards for vehicles could drive American car-makers to the end of the line. "If you want to rely totally upon Japanese for cars, it’s a different story," Grassley says, "but if you want to have competition and you want to preserve jobs in America, it seems to me at this particular time, you would not want to do what’s being done."
Grassley says, however, he does support efforts to cut pollution, but only as fast as the engineering can advance the technology. This plan, Grassley says, may exceed our engineering abilities. He was asked how the president’s proposal would impact ethanol, which is recognized by many as hurting a vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
"It isn’t going to affect ethanol any more with the decision that’s made today than past decisions that’ve been made to enhance mileage standards going back over the last 30 years," Grassley says. "Ethanol had developed well during that period of time and you’re right, ethanol doesn’t give quite the mileage that other (fuels) do."
Iowa is the nation’s leader in ethanol production. Grassley says there is a three-pronged approach to remedying our nation’s energy situation — developing more ways to obtain and use fossil fuels, building on existing conservation efforts, and working to make more alternative energies viable.