Robert Redford’s Latest ‘Role’ Misleads Americans About Dangers of Fuel Economy Standards

Washington, DC, March 20, 2002—Robert Redford may have given the most incredible performance of his career when he narrated radio ads recently for the Natural Resources Defense Council, saying higher government fuel economy standards would give us “safer” cars.  Today the Competitive Enterprise Institute responded to the misleading ad campaign with a full-page ad in the Orem Times near Redford’s ranch in Utah.  CEI’s ad can be seen here.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />


“For the NRDC and Mr. Redford to claim that more stringent fuel economy standards would increase vehicle safety is absolutely ridiculous,” said Sam Kazman, CEI’s general counsel and fuel economy expert. 


“It’s been clear for more than a decade that the federal government’s program increases traffic deaths by restricting the production of larger, more crashworthy cars.  This is demonstrated by a Harvard-Brookings study and a National Academy of Sciences report that shows the program already kills 1,300 to 2,600 people each year,” added Kazman.

The NRDC radio campaign aired last week during the U.S. Senate’s debate over whether to raise fuel economy standards.  A proposal by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) to significantly raise the standards was defeated, and instead the Senate chose to adopt an amendment that keeps the decision-making process regarding the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) program at the Department of Transportation.  The amendment expressly directs DOT to consider CAFE’s impact on safety, among other factors.

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, visit our website at