Competitive Enterprise Institute | 1899 L ST NW Floor 12, Washington, DC 20036 | Phone: 202-331-1010 | Fax: 202-331-0640
Washington, DC, July 30, 2001— The Competitive Enterprise Institute today welcomed the National Academy of Sciences’ admission that federal auto gas mileage standards have contributed to thousands of traffic fatalities. The report found that, in 1993 alone, the CAFE program (for Corporate Average Fuel Economy) may have caused 1,300 to 2,600 fatalities. In CEI’s view, the real question is how a program found guilty of so many deaths could possibly be expanded.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
In 1992 CEI won a federal appeals court ruling that the U.S. Transportation Department had illegally ignored CAFE’s adverse safety effects. A 1999 CEI study estimated that CAFE was causing 2,600 to 4,500 deaths annually. CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman said of today’s report: “It’s about time that CAFE’s lethal toll was acknowledged. The admission that CAFE kills people is really the most newsworthy aspect of today’s report. Congress should now really be asking how this issue has been missed for so long by the federal agency responsible for traffic safety.”
CEI also argued that any move to expand CAFE would be politically irresponsible. “CAFE is a dangerous and failed program by any public health standard,” continued Kazman. “A product that caused this many deaths would have consumer safety advocates issuing dire threats of boycotts and lawsuits against the manufacturer. We should hold the federal government at least as accountable. As for the NAS, the fact they missed the safety issue when it was at its peak makes it clear that their new report can hardly serve as a basis for expanding the program.”
In 1992 the NAS did its own study on CAFE, which failed to come to any conclusion on the safety issue. “It took the Academy another decade to recognize this point. It ought to at least acknowledge its own fallibility, rather than come up with a new prescription for disaster,” Mr. Kazman concluded.
CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information, please contact the media relations department at firstname.lastname@example.org  or 202-331-1010.