Planet Gore

Harsh Words for the New CAFE Standards . . .

 . . . from CNBC’s Media & Technology Editor Dennis Kneale. An excerpt: 

So let me point out some fatal flaws in this green decree:

  • It will result in Americans driving more not less. When we get better mileage, we drive more than usual, negating much of the savings, says Penn State’s Andrew N. Kleit, who has written widely on the topic.
  • The key to better mileage is lighter-weight cars — in which people die more often in traffic accidents. Since CAFE passed in 1975, smaller cars have killed almost 50,000 more people than otherwise would have died on the roads, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2002. CAFE kills up to 3,900 extra people each year, a study by Harvard and the Brookings Institition states. It finds that for every 100 pounds less that an auto weighs, up to 780 more people die in traffic accidents in a year.
  • It will add $600 to the price of a car, further worsening the Big 3’s already sizable cost disadvantage. Toyota, Honda and Hyundai already pretty much meet the stricter standards.
  • It will force Detroit to build wimpy li’l cars most consumers don’t want to buy. CAFE rules long have distorted industry production. Automakers churn out loss-leader subcompacts purely to lower the average mileage for their entire fleet, freeing them to make higher-profit SUVs. At Ford, the F-150 truck provided 120% of profits, back when it had profits.
  • I know, guys: We gotta fix this fuel problem sooner rather than later, we have to end our reliance on foreign oil. Blah blah blah. Sure we do — but not by Presidential fiat, not by way of a self-perpetuating bureaucracy. We need a free-market solution: Make better, cheaper, safer lower-fuel cars that we want to buy, and we’re happy to start driving them.

    Not because Bam said we should, but because we choose to do so.

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