The Energy Bill with a Body Count
<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Washington, D.C., December 14, 2007—Yesterday the Senate passed an energy bill that would increase fuel economy regulations for cars and light trucks, making a program that already contributes to thousands of highway deaths a year even more deadly. The federal rules for new vehicles would force carmakers to downsize their new vehicles, making them less crashworthy in the case of an accident.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
The rules, known as Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), have been in place since the 1970s. In 2001, a National Academy of Sciences panel concluded that CAFE contributes to between 1,300 to 2,600 traffic deaths per year, by restricting the production of larger and heavier cars. A subsequent study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration went even further, finding that the effect of downsizing on safety was “substantially larger” than previously thought.
“Of all the questionable provisions in the current energy bill, making CAFE more stringent is by far the worst. While the subsidies and mandates will waste the taxpayers’ money, this one will cost lives,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute General Counsel Sam Kazman.
For a short video guide to the CAFE program, see The Simpleton’s Guide to Fuel Standards on YouTube.
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