Washington, D.C., January 8, 2003— A new campaign attacking SUVs and linking them to terrorism through our dependence on foreign oil is farcical and disingenuous, says a leading expert on fuel economy issues at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. This weekend the “Detroit Project,” co-founded by syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington, will kick off with television ads asking Americans to stop buying sport utility vehicles.
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“If Arianna Huffington is really serious about reducing our nation’s oil use, she should be targeting the amount of driving we do, not the vehicles we own. But it’s much easier to demonize a technology and an industry,” says Sam Kazman, CEI’s general counsel and expert on fuel economy issues. “Maybe Ms. Huffington should take a vow of petroleum abstinence, and give up cabs, limos, and jets.”
Kazman also points out there’s a safety issue involved in the debate. The federal government’s fuel economy standards forced the downsizing of cars, to the point where full-size station wagons are a rarity. This not only reduced vehicle crashworthiness, but also added to the popularity of SUVs.
“If SUV fuel standards are raised, the result will be even more traffic deaths,” notes Kazman.
In 1992, CEI won a federal appeals court ruling against the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration for illegally concealing the lethal effects of the program, known as CAFE (corporate average fuel economy). The Detroit Project is the second attack on SUV owners in less than two months. In November, a coalition of religious groups launched the “What Would Jesus Drive?” campaign.
Fuel Economy Expert Available for Interviews
[email protected] Recently seen on: Connie Chung Tonight (CNN), Hardball with Chris Matthews (MSNBC), The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist.
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, please visit our website at www.cei.org.