The NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King told congress the high price of new fuel-efficient vehicles is preventing families from purchasing newer, safer cars and trucks.
“We know that newer cars are safer and cleaner than older cars. We also know that consumers can choose whether to keep their older car or to purchase a newer, safer, cleaner car. This is relevant since there are already more cars than adults in our country. Standards that increase the price of a new car can hinder safety by discouraging people from replacing their older cars with cleaner, safer, newer cars,” she told members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee during a joint subcommittee hearing.
in 2018 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and NHTSA proposed the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule in hopes of creating new fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for model year 2021-2026 passenger cars and light trucks.
“Today, we are facing an affordability crisis in the new car market. The average price of a new vehicle exceeds $37,000, and new vehicle prices have risen 29% in the past decade, while median family income grew only 6% during that period,” she said.
It's not just consumers struggling to purchase fuel efficient vehicles, the automotive manufacturers are also struggling to meet modern fuel economy targets.
“Today, automakers are struggling to meet the existing standards. EPA’s latest ‘Trends Report’ showed that despite record fuel economy gains, all but three of the thirteen major automakers failed to meet their performance targets for the 2017 model year,” King said.
“As fuel economy improves, the incremental gains to consumers diminish,” Deputy Administrator King said. “That means that each additional fuel economy improvement becomes much more expensive as the low-cost technological improvement options are already deployed.”
As the SAFE rule is created and optimized for the marketplace, the NHTSA and EPA are open to all data and feedback from both consumers and manufacturers to ensure the updates are a success.