Obama’s New Fuel Economy Mandates Risk Lives, Compromise Reliability, Increase Costs

Washington, DC, July 29, 2011 – New fuel economy mandates on cars and trucks announced today by the Obama administration will lead to more traffic fatalities, compromise auto reliability, and increase costs for consumers.

“If these super-efficient, yet-to-be-produced cars will be all that great, then we wouldn’t need a federal law requiring them,” said Sam Kazman, CEI General Counsel.  “That’s why this ultra-CAFE represents wishful thinking in its most lethal form.

“The auto industry will meet these requirements,” Kazman explained, “but it’s consumers who’ll pay the price.  They will end up with more expensive, less useful, and much less reliable new cars.  Worse yet, some consumers will pay with their lives, because the downsizing required by ultra-CAFE will mean that many of these vehicles will be far less crashworthy than they otherwise would be.”

The new government mandates will require passenger vehicles to average 54.5 miles per gallon –nearly double the current mandate – by 2025.  If that mandate is designed to force more hybrid vehicles on the market, that’s problematic, too, warns a CEI expert.

“Even a 25-fold increase in hybrid vehicle market share may not suffice to meet the standard without mass reductions that reduce vehicle safety. Obama is pushing a dramatic and untested departure from what people are actually buying,” added Marlo Lewis, CEI Senior Fellow.  (View full commentary by Marlo Lewis on Globalwarming.org.)

“Making cars to please government planners rather than to satisfy consumers is a recipe for economic disaster,” said Lewis.

Today’s Obama administration announcement lays the groundwork for a formal proposal to be issued in the fall. The public will then have 90- days to comment on the final proposal, with official regulations expected in fall 2012.

> See also, “Why Your New Car Doesn’t Have a Spare Tire; Auto makers comply with fuel economy mandates by making cars lighter and more dangerous,” by Sam Kazman for the Wall Street Journal