I have signed S. 2475, the Automobile Fuel Efficiency Act of 1980. This bill is another step in my administration's efforts to make Federal regulations more responsive to the needs of our Nation's automobile industry.
S. 2475 includes several necessary modifications to the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards, all of which were requested by the administration. First, the bill allows low-volume automobile producers, those producing less than 10,000 cars annually, to request alternative CAFE standards for 2 years or more and exempts these producers from burdensome reporting requirements. This provision should ease the regulatory burden on small auto manufacturers, without having any consequential effect on our Nation's efforts to conserve energy.
Second, the bill provides additional flexibility in the CAFE standards for foreign manufacturers to encourage them to produce and assemble cars in this country. This provision is part of my effort to encourage foreign automobile companies to increase their investments in the United States.
Finally, the bill provides all manufacturers greater flexibility in achieving the fuel economy standards in any particular year. This provision will permit the automobile companies to meet the standards more easily without reducing our commitment to energy conservation.
The revitalization of our Nation's domestic automobile industry is essential to the health of our economy. In the past several months we have made progress toward this goal. My administration has modified existing regulations to save the auto industry more than $600 million in the years to come. As part of my economic renewal program, I have proposed a 40-percent increase in depreciation allowances to give the industry the tax incentives that it needs to retool. I also have proposed a refundable investment tax credit to help the domestic companies, which currently are not profitable, to invest in the future.
To help the communities and workers that currently are suffering from the downturn in the auto industry, I have proposed substantial financial help to the States, cities, and counties that are experiencing the highest unemployment. I also have proposed substantial additional benefits for workers in the automobile and related industries, by extending unemployment benefits for 13 additional weeks and extending trade adjustment assistance to workers in many supplier industries.
I have expressed concern to the Japanese about the level of Japanese imports, and I have stated quite clearly that the United States does not intend to abandon any portion of our share of the domestic auto market. I have also encouraged Japanese car companies to increase their investments in the United States and urged Japan to reduce the barriers to the sale of U.S. cars and parts in Japan. This bill will contribute to that effort.
In addition, the Administrator of the General Services Administration recently announced the fulfillment of a commitment I had made some time ago to accelerate the Federal Government's purchase of automobiles and trucks. The General Services Administrator also announced that for the first time we will be purchasing American-made light duty trucks that meet our fuel economy standards.
Finally, to ensure that government, business, and labor continue to work together to address the problems of this vital industry, I have established a tripartite Presidential Auto Industry Committee.
The steps that we have taken over the last 6 months lay the foundation for recovery in the automobile industry. There is no question that more remains to be done. I look forward to working with the Congress, business, and labor in the upcoming months to ensure swift enactment of the legislation that we need to ensure that the recovery in autos is strong and lasting.