August 17, 2016
Yesterday, the Obama administration unveiled even more costly regulations: one from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the other from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The target of both agencies is trucks—and that includes school buses, garbage trucks, delivery vans and similar vehicles. The NHTSA focusing on the fuel economy standards of these vehicles and the EPA targeting greenhouse gas emissions.
Heritage energy and environment analyst Nick Loris says the idea that the trucking industry is dragging its heels on efforts to reduce fuel consumption is “a joke.” Truckers, he says, “are highly motivated to cut fuel costs however and whenever possible, but new government mandates are not the best way to get there.” Loris maintains that the new regulations will damage the economy without producing any measurable improvement to the environment.
“These climate change-motivated fuel efficiency standards will simply mandate pricier technology that will drive up the cost of trucks,” he predicted. “The higher prices will inhibit sales, keeping older, dirtier trucks on the road longer. And when the more expensive trucks are sold, the increased costs will be passed on to consumers.”
Local governments will be among those hit hard. “You can expect school bus fleets to age, and age poorly,” Loris said. “Fewer new buses will be integrated into existing fleet, and maintenance costs will rise as schools districts struggle to keep old equipment up and running. City fleets—everything from garbage trucks to emergency service vehicles to plowing equipment—will face the same challenges and taxpayers will be stuck with the tab.
Meanwhile, the environmental benefits realized will be marginal, at best. “Regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—be it from cars, power plants, fracking, airplanes, or whatever—have little to no impact on global temperatures,” Loris argues. “We’re talking a difference of maybe a fraction of a degree tops, and that’s 100 years down the line.”
According to Heritage research, President Obama’s regulatory legacy already costs American taxpayers $108 billion a year. And new regulations keep coming. Previously, the administration announced new fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles that are estimated to add $3,800 to the price of a new car.