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Mr. MANZULLO. I thank the gentleman from Texas for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, we have something very interesting going on in this administration, and it's called ``Who's in Charge?'' At one time, we believed that the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency, NHTSA, as part of DOT was in charge of regulating the corporate average fuel economy standards. In fact, it's always been that way. Well, then, all of a sudden the EPA gets involved, gets its nose under the tent and decides that, well, because there are emissions that they're going to get involved in it. Then along comes the California Air Resources Board and says, No. If you live in California, these are the standards.
So we have the automobile manufacturers taking a look at which agency is in control, if any, and what they have to follow, although they have been forced to follow the standard that's been set down by the EPA to have this amazing 54.5 miles per gallon fuel economy for model years beginning in 2017.
In the district that I'm proud to represent, Chrysler has a plant in Belvedere that's going to house the body shop for the new Dodge Dart. I saw that automobile at the auto show here in Washington this past week, and it's a beauty. It's beautiful. It represents more than a $600 million investment in the community and
workforce in northern Illinois, and Chrysler had more than 1,600 production workers at the same assembly plant started in July when they had the third shifts. This is another signal of the increase in automobile sales that we're seeing in this country from the zenith of 17 million that were sold years ago to where we are now.
But this car starts at $16,000, and with the average price of a vehicle to increase by $3,200 and the source of that is the government itself, I just don't know what these people are thinking. In fact, if you take a look at the EPA rule, that says the estimate is that the mandate will cost $157 billion, which always means the number is vastly greater. That's a lot of money. That's a huge amount of money. I mean, this is classic Obama EPA.
But you ask yourself, What is the $157 billion for? The great scientists, mathematicians, and bureaucrats over at EPA said, well, this is the cost that it's going to take in investing in new technology. I hear those words, ``investing in new technology,'' as if people that don't even know the sweet smell of machine oil who sit in offices in Washington, D.C., can sit there with their calculators and their green clerks hats and come to an estimate of what it's going to cost to increase the technology to come up to that 54.5-mile-per-gallon standard.
We all know government figures are wrong. I mean, $157 billion, that's a huge amount of money. I think the total amount of the bailout, if anybody was interested in that, was around $15 billion. Now, this is 10 times the amount.
You ask yourselves, where is this money coming from? Obviously, if manufacturers have to gear up for this major expense, they're not going to wait until 2017. They're going to start doing it now. And so the increase in prices of automobiles will be directly related to this new mandate from the EPA.
So to the gentleman from Texas, I want to thank you for having the courage of speaking out here, and I thank you for the opportunity to help explain to the American people of the folly of this latest EPA action.
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