Senators Introduce Deadly New Proposal

Washington, D.C., January 30, 2003 — Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) today proposed increasing the severity of one of the federal government’s most dangerous regulations.  The federal government’s fuel economy standards for new vehicles, which contribute to thousands of deaths a year by forcing automakers to downsize new car models, should be raised for SUVs and other light trucks, according to Feinstein and Snowe.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />


The CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) program was originally introduced in 1975.  It has forced carmakers to restrict 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.  A National Academy of Sciences report issued in 2001 found that the federal program may be responsible for approximately 2,000 deaths a year due to this downsizing effect. 

“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 Senators Feinstein and Snowe, who want to make this program even deadlier.”


Sam KazmanGeneral Counsel202.331.2265[email protected] Recently seen on: Today (NBC), Connie Chung Tonight (CNN), and Donahue (MSNBC).

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 and the fuel economy issue, please visit the CAFE Café.