For several years environmental activists have been pushing for higher CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards and the auto, boating, RV and allied industries have been successfully pushing back! CAFÉ standards were first enacted in 1975 and revised upward in small increments several times. Today, another major change is close and trailer boating stands to take a big hit.
With politicians already racing to the 2008 elections, it appears gaining favor with the environmental lobby has become a high priority to members of Congress. Accordingly, they’ve jumped on the global warming bandwagon by looking at CAFÉ increases. Legislation - already passed by the Senate is now being considered in the House - would increase the CAFÉ from the current 27 mpg for cars and 22 mpg for light trucks to 35 mpg for both by 2020, a 40% increase!
Previous increases essentially eliminated the family car as a suitable and safe tow vehicle for boats, leaving only the light truck and SUV to do the job today. But if a new CAFÉ standard is set at 35 for all vehicles, trailer boating could come to an end as manufacturers continue to squeeze weight and size from vehicles to gain mpg. In fact, the SUV or light pickup could disappear altogether.
The result would be no suitable, safe vehicle would be on the market to tow the majority of boats in America. The boating industry would suffer a critical blow leading to dealer and manufacturing failures, lost jobs and increased costs for unemployment benefits (remindful of the industry-wide depression we experienced when Congress passed the luxury tax!)
The long term growth of boating depends on the ability of millions of American boaters to tow their craft to nearby waterways in a safe, suitable vehicle. The Marina Retailers Association of America (MRAA) has taken an industry leadership position in advocating an exemption for light trucks from the increase in CAFÉ. The effort needs your support as the House is expected to move on the CAFÉ proposals soon.
If you want to get in the fight, and for the future for so many dealerships that may depend on it, contact MRAA at www.mraa.com and find out how you can be a boating activist. But do it now.