Detroit automakers sure aren’t complaining about the Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate. They anticipate having a close ally in the incoming chair of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who is known for his criticism of clean air regulations and the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. He once referred to federal environmental agencies as “Gestapo bureaucracies.” On the other hand, automakers don’t quite know what to expect from Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.), who will assume the reins of the Commerce Committee. McCain has been an outspoken proponent of increasing fuel-efficiency standards for cars, SUVs, and light trucks. Whatever McCain’s position, however, automakers don’t think they’ll be confronted with tougher standards anytime soon: Both chambers of Congress recently voted overwhelmingly against stricter requirements.
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