Bush Fuel Economy Plan Rejected By The Courts

The Bush administrations fuel economy plan was rejected by 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Thursday. The court ruled that National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “failed to address why the so-called light trucks are allowed to pollute more than passenger cars and didn’t properly assess greenhouse gas emissions when it set new minimum miles-per-gallon requirements for models in 2008 to 2011,” according to the Associated Press.

The court ordered the White House to examine why it continues to consider light trucks differently than cars. Regulators made a distinction between cars and light trucks decades ago when most trucks were used for commercial purposes.

NHTSA had argued that it considered the intent of the manufacturer in making light trucks, rather than their actual highway use, in developing the new fuel standards.

“But this overlooks the fact that many light trucks today are manufactured primarily for transporting passengers,” Fletcher wrote for the three-judge panel.

Fletcher also wrote that the administration failed to consider the benefit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“It did, however, include an analysis of the employment and sales impacts of more stringent standards on manufacturers,” Fletcher wrote.

The court also took the administration to task for refusing to include in the new standards trucks weighing more than 8,500 pounds, a class that includes the Hummer H2, Ford F250 and other popular large vehicles.

The court ordered NHTSA to develop fuel standards for these large trucks or give a better reason than the agency’s argument that it has never regulated those large trucks and that more testing needs to be done.

“This historic ruling vindicates our fight against fuel economy standards that are a complete sham and a gift to the auto industry,” said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who also joined the lawsuit.

Oh no, someone has irritated Richard Blumenthal. Now their destruction is assured.

Court Rebukes Bush Fuel Economy Plan [AP]
(Photo:George E. Norkus)