So will the White House manage to sync the EPA with the administration’s vision for natural gas? There’s still time — just. On July 16, the draft CAFE rules were sent to the Office of Management and Budget for a final review.
When it comes to new regulations and incentives, OMB is known to be cost-conscious, favoring efficient rules that expand rather than restrict consumer choices. Hence, given that the major auto manufacturers are, almost to a company, in favor of broad technology-neutral manufacturing incentives for alternative fuel vehicles, there is still a chance that the OMB will nudge the EPA in the right direction — a direction that encourages America’s auto makers to provide drivers with more gasoline-free options, including NGVs.
There’s plainly wide political support for that too. Govs. John Hickenlooper, a Colorado Democrat, and Mary Fallin, an Oklahoma Republican, forged a 13-state memorandum of understanding to spur production of NGVs for state fleets.
They told the EPA in May: “It is our hope that any final rule will promote a pool of alternative fuel vehicles and will incentivize U.S. manufacturers to produce NGVs as well as other qualified clean and alternative fuel vehicles” so that “the national benefits of [our] MOU are not undermined.”
These governors will be watching the final rule closely as, no doubt, will many folks in other natural gas-rich swing states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Mexico.
Gregory C. Staple is CEO of the American Clean Skies Foundation.
Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, holds his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem as he waits to take the stage for his town hall campaign rally with Sen. John McCain at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.