CAFE’s Killer Impact

New estimates are out on the impact of increasing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations, as the recent energy bill did. It’s not pretty. Here’s Myron’s take:

Myron Ebell, director of Energy and Global Warming Policy with the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, agreed that consumers will no doubt pay thousands more for their vehicle but also that the new cars will be lower in quality and less safe.

Automakers, he said, will have to find other ways to keep costs low, including compromising on performance and comfort. And smaller cars are more dangerous, Ebell said.

“Like my colleague Sam Kazman likes to say, ‘CAFE kills,'” Ebell told Cybercast News Service. Ebell cited a 2001 study by the National Academy of Sciences that examined the earlier CAFE standards imposed in the 1970s.

The study says, in part, “While acknowledging that some existing technologies could reduce the fuel consumption of new cars in the next 10-15 years, the study noted that these would increase the cost of cars and trucks and it would take decades before all the current 200 million cars on the road are replaced.

“It also noted that downsizing of vehicles in the 1970s and 1980s may have contributed to an additional 1,300 to 2,600 fatalities (alone)” – a number that could add up to thousands more deaths on American highways under the new CAFE standards, Ebell said.

Much more on CAFE available here. Thanks to Penny Star at for calling us up.