CAFE And Safety: A New Poll By The Competitive Enterprise Institute

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A Poll Prepared For Competitive Enterprise Institute By The Polling Company (TM)

National Survey of 1,001 Adults; Margin of Error = + 3.0%
As the debate over federal fuel economy standards has heated up in recent months, a number of polls have been released purporting to show high public support for increasing these standards.  To our knowledge, however, none of these polls has informed those being surveyed about CAFE’s impact on traffic safety.  None, for example, have described the National Academy of Sciences’ finding, in the report it released last August, that CAFE contributes to between 1,300 and 2,600 traffic deaths annually through its downsizing effect on cars.

The results being released today demonstrate that, once the public learns of these findings, its view of this program changes drastically.  Public support for the current CAFE program drops almost to the break-even point.  More importantly, by a plurality of 48 percent, the public opposes making CAFE more stringent.

These results are consistent with the findings of our 1999 poll on this same issue, which similarly indicated that information about CAFE’s safety effects shifts public sentiment on this program.  The results of the 1999 poll are summarized here.  Additional information on this issue can be found on our new CAFE Cafe.