Ranking Members Butterfield and Waxman and Urge Transportation Secretary to Combat Odometer Fraud

Mar 21, 2012
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (CA-30) and Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urging him to combat odometer fraud by updating the rule governing odometer disclosure requirements.

The full text of the letter follows.

March 21, 2012


The Honorable Ray LaHood


United States Department of Transportation

U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Ave, SE

Washington, DC 20590


Dear Secretary LaHood:

We are writing to request that you continue your fight to combat odometer fraud by updating the rule governing odometer disclosure requirements.

Under current law, a person transferring ownership of a motor vehicle must disclose to the future owner the mileage registered on the odometer.  

The Secretary is permitted to exempt from that requirement certain classes or categories of vehicles he deems appropriate.   Originally, this exemption was granted to vehicles over 25 years old.   In 1988, under the Administration of President George H.W. Bush, the Secretary of Transportation expanded this exemption to any vehicle that is over ten years old.  

Odometer disclosure requirements are invaluable to consumers.  These disclosures help consumers understand the condition, safety, reliability, and needed service of a used car and, in turn, help ensure the sale price reflects the true value.

Recently, RL Polk, an automotive information and data collection organization, found that the average age of a used car for sale is over 11 years old.   This means that used cars of average resale age are not covered by these disclosure requirements when they are sold.  The number of cars exempt from the disclosure requirement is likely to expand as the average life of vehicles continues to increase.

We recommend that you revise the disclosure requirements rule to remove this ten year exemption or at least consider reinstating the exemption limited to cars over 24 years old, which was in place prior to 1988. 

If you have any questions regarding this request, contact Michelle Ash with the Energy and Commerce Committee Staff at 202-226-3400.



G. K. Butterfield                                              Henry A. Waxman

Ranking Member                                             Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Commerce,

Manufacturing and Trade