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Several members of Congress, led by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. John L. Mica, Florida Republican, recently wrote a letter to Mr. Obama vowing to keep a close eye on future moves by the FMCSA, an arm of the federal Department of Transportation.

“The last thing our government should be doing is artificially increasing the costs of almost every consumer good with unneeded regulation,” the letter reads in part.

Mr. Graves said he thinks the current rules represent “the sweet spot” by allowing companies to run an efficient operation and make a profit while also containing safeguards so exhausted truckers can’t drive for days without a break. He urged the FMCSA to reconsider its plan.

But the agency will face push back either way. Several unions, including the Teamsters, have been engaged in a long legal battle with the federal government and have pushed for shorter workdays for drivers. If those groups see the new rules as too loose, they’ll continue the battle in court. If the regulations are too restrictive, the trucking industry will mount its own challenge.

“I don’t see a way forward for [the FMCSA]. They’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t,” Mr. Graves said.

Mr. Graves and Mr. England also voiced support for an industry transition to natural gas, rather than diesel, as the fuel of choice. While federal investment in service stations and other needed infrastructure is unlikely, given the nation’s budget situation, Mr. Graves said the industry is making the move on its own. If trucking companies can save money and run just as efficiently as they do now, he said the switch will become a no-brainer.

“We’re further along on this today than anybody would’ve thought,” Mr. Graves said.