Dealers balk at 2025 gas mileage rules

Manufactures, environmental groups, and the White House have approved new rules for cars requiring 54.5 mpg on cars by 2025. But dealers think the rules will lead to a dearth of cars that consumers actually want to buy.

Nam Y. Huh/AP/File
In this photo taken last month, a Hyundai Elantra is seen inside of a Hyundai car dealership in Des Planines, Ill. Auto dealers still oppose measures that would require cars to be much more fuel efficient by 2025. They are worried that the vehicles produced to meet the rules won't be of interest to buyers.

Approved by auto manufacturers, environmental groups and the White House, 2025's 54.5 mpg gas mileage rules are still causing headaches for dealers.

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA ) continues to oppose the ruling, and hopes that newly introduced legislation will lead to a re-think in 2017.

The 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rules require a manufacturer's average fuel efficiency to be 54.5 mpg or above by 2025.

The rules do not apply to trucks, which will meet a different set of rules, and vehicles are expected to meet efficiency targets on a steady increase up to 2025.

As Wards Auto reports, NADA worries that the vehicles produced to meet the rules won't be of interest to buyers, who may be put off by the higher prices the extra technology will result in.

"It will create a jalopy effect," says NADA Chairman Bill Underinner, "where people hold onto their cars for longer because they don't like what's being sold.

"It's going to be very hard for the manufacturers to build cars the public wants to get 54.5 mpg."

NADA is supporting new legislation introduced last month by Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA), demanding a safety and jobs analysis of the new gas mileage rules. Many worry the new rules will harm the market enough that job losses will result.

NADA is also concerned about increased prevalence of OEM-mandated upgrades to dealerships. Underinner says that not all dealerships can afford the property upgrades--while those that can, risk customers thinking they're being overcharged for their cars, if a dealer can afford millions in renovations.

In the end, it's up to the customers themselves. There are plenty of customer benefits to the 2025 rules--but will buyers see it that way?

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