That might be happening at the expense of better, safer options.
“It creates, inadvertently, technological lock-in,” Ryan Hagemann, senior director for policy at the Niskanen Center, said in an interview. “You are more likely to simply rest on your laurels and default to what the standard is rather than trying to improve on top of it.”
Scribner said the provision could also spur other companies to “lobby to try to gain similar favors in the future for their particular technologies” and anger environmentalists who were already critical of the data EPA used to justify credits.
“It could wind up putting a big target on the entire program’s back,” he said.
The EPA directed inquiries to the Department of Transportation, which referred inquiries to the traffic safety administration. That organization said it would carefully consider all comments before enacting a final rule.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which counts GM and Toyota as members, also supported DSRC. Executives at the group met with officials from the transportation department, the EPA and the Office of Management and Budget in June to discuss the SAFE Vehicles rule. A spokesman for the group was unaware whether the provision was discussed.
“If those types of credits were brought up, they would have played a very minor role in the discussion,” he said in an emailed response to inquiries. While self-driving technology is an unconventional means of reducing toxic emissions from vehicles, it is effective, he added.
“The agencies should incentivize the adoption of these technologies and provide for possibly additional credit,” he said.