New Fuel Economy Ad Campaign Misleading

Washington, D.C., March 13, 2002 — With the future of one of the federal government’s riskier regulations currently being debated in Washington, a new radio ad campaign featuring Robert Redford is making some highly questionable claims.  <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />


The ads, sponsored by the Natural Resources Defense Council, are running in Delaware, Maryland, Nebraska, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota.  They claim that higher fuel economy standards would give us “safer, more fuel efficient cars.”  However, according to a National Academy of Sciences’ report last summer, the current program already kills 1,300-2,600 people each year.  If the standards were raised, they would become even deadlier.   


The CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) program was originally introduced in 1975 as a conservation measure.  While it has yet to demonstrably reduce gasoline consumption, it has forced carmakers to restrict their sales of larger cars and to downsize other models.  Since larger cars are more crashworthy than smaller cars in practically every collision mode, the result is more highway deaths. 

“For over a decade, we have argued that CAFE increases traffic deaths by restricting the production of larger, more crashworthy cars,” said CEI general counsel Sam Kazman.  “In 1992 we won a federal appeals court ruling that the U.S. Transportation Department had illegally ignored CAFE’s adverse safety effects.  Now those safety effects are being ignored by those who want to make this program even deadlier.”

Public Safety Expert Available for Interviews on CAFE

Sam KazmanGeneral Counsel202-331-1010, ext. 218[email protected]

Recently featured inNational Review, The Christian Science Monitor,Environment & Climate News, and Hardball withChris Matthews.

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 CEI at [email protected] or 202-331-1010.