Business Regulation and Consumer Protection:

[EPA Testing Responsibilities Under Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program]

B-217744: Published: Jun 3, 1985. Publicly Released: Jul 3, 1985.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO presented its views on: (1) the scope of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority to modify test procedures under the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Program; (2) whether test modifications may be accomplished informally; and (3) whether EPA adequately responded to a circuit court order to address discrepancies resulting from test modifications made in 1979. GAO found that EPA did not exceed its authority to change test procedures and, because it was unaware of possible technical or clerical reasons which justified the past handling of the CAFE testing program or proposed CAFE adjustments, it was not in a position to raise legal objections to those changes. However, GAO believes that, in the future, EPA should use formal rulemaking to accomplish test changes, unless a specific exception applies. Finally, GAO found that the EPA proposed rulemaking adequately responded to the court order.

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