<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Washington, D.C., September 16, 2005—Members of Congress this week introduced legislation aimed at making automobile fuel economy regulations more stringent, potentially endangering thousands of lives.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
A new bill co-sponsored by Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) and Ed Markey (D-MA) would raise the current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in the name of fighting high gas prices. A more likely and troubling impact, however, would be the increased pressure on carmakers to produce lighter, less safe cars, contributing to a higher number of deaths on U.S. roads.
“Pushing for more stringent CAFE is a feel-good measure that will have no impact on fuel economy or fuel prices in the near future,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute General Counsel Sam Kazman. “Consumers are already responding to gas price increases far faster than government can, by changing their driving and car-buying habits.”
“In the longer term, CAFE is a deadly blood-for-oil trade-off,” continued Kazman. “It’s lethal effects on vehicle safety were documented in the National Research Council’s 2001 study, which found that its downsizing incentive contributes to 2,000 deaths annually. Its sponsors may pretend otherwise, but the Boehlert-Markey bill would make that death toll even worse.”
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