CEI’s CAFE Litigation: Case 2

Full Document Available in PDF

CEI’s first case is available here.

CEI’s CAFE Litigation

Compiled by Sam Kazman

The CEI contends that the NHTSA, on remand, failed to give adequate consideration to the petitioners’ contention that retaining the statutory CAFE standard for MY 1990 would have significant adverse safety effects. Specifically, the CEI claims that the agency failed to consider that (1) the CAFE standard causes automobile manufacturers to downsize passenger cars, resulting in significantly more traffic fatalities because larger, heavier cars are safer than smaller, lighter cars; and (2) the CAFE standard constrains automobile manufacturers from upsizing cars, thereby pricing consumers out of the market for larger, heavier, and (presumably) safer cars. The substance of the CEI’s position is intuitively appealing. We must deal here, however, not with our intuition and not with the petitioners’ position in the abstract, but with the concrete record before us and with the conclusions that the agency drew from it. That record adequately supports the NHTSA’s conclusion that maintaining the 27.5 mpg CAFE standard for MY 1990 would not significantly affect the safety of the motoring public.