CAFE Standard Increases: Here’s Why Not

Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Hudson Institute has written a superlative op-ed on the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards, that were approved by the Senate Commerce Committee in May.

Among the CAFE facts Furchtgott-Roth shares with her readers:

1) The original CAFE standards resulted in needless deaths: 1,300-2,600 in just one year studied. The standards were first adopted 32 years ago. (Do the math.)

2) Excluding the people who would lose their lives if the new, tougher standards are adopted, the “biggest losers… would be Americans who prefer large vehicles to carry families, equipment, and pets on daily trips or long vacations.”

3) Domestic U.S. auto manufacturers (Chrysler, GM, Ford) would be hurt. Says Furchtgott-Roth about Ford: “In the first four months of 2007, Ford sold 570,000 light trucks, but only 300,000 passenger cars. Each F-Series truck makes about $8,000 in profits for the company, whereas Ford loses money on passenger cars.”

4) Foreign manufacturers supported by the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers support increasing CAFE standards.

I especially love this part of her piece: “Neither global warming nor energy security require increased CAFE standards, which are both anti-economic and anti-intellectual. They are made for a political system where appearance trumps substance.”


There’s lot’s more. Read the entire piece here.

Addendum, 6/1/07 Some of the same politicians who support raising CAFE standards also support ill-advised proposals to make so-called “gas gouging” (ill-defined in this post, because it is ill-defined in the legislation, criminal penalties for doing it notwithstanding) a federal crime (see here and here for one of many examples). Yet, high gas prices tend to reduce gas usage, which CAFE standard supporters think is so important, it is worth the loss of several thousand lives per year.

This is literally a life or death issue, but to many leading politicians, life or death isn’t as important as getting good media coverage, or appeasing special interests.

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