Posted by: The Busy Post | August 24, 2012

CAFE Standards Kill!

This is to go along with my last 2 posts about car engines.

Keep in mind this article was written in 2006!



CAFE Standards Kill: Congress’ Regulatory Solution to Foreign Oil Dependence Comes at a Steep Price

by Ryan Balis

On the heels of the Arab oil embargo, in 1975 Congress enacted Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards as a regulatory solution to reduce the United States’ dependence on foreign oil and gasoline consumption.1 CAFE standards mandate that vehicles sold in the U.S. meet fuel efficiency – or “fuel economy” – standards. Current standards require an average of 27.2 miles per gallon (mpg) for cars and 21.6 mpg for light trucks.2

Beginning in 2008, “one-size-fits-all” CAFE standards for light trucks will be phased out. New regulations will divide light trucks into six categories based on vehicle size – each category having its own mpg target.3 However, the fuel economy for these vehicles will be raised from the current 22.2 mpg to 24.0 mpg in model year 2011.4

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate, implementing this change will cost American consumers over $6.71 billion in added vehicle expenses from 2007-2011.5 Yet Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, calculates that the fuel savings will be a mere 0.44 billion gallons of gasoline annually.6 On average, U.S. cars and light trucks consume some 11 billion gallons of gasoline each month.7

Despite the new regulatory “reform,” high gas prices have lawmakers in Washington debating, once again,8 whether to impose even steeper CAFE standards. For instance, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) proposed burdensome across-the-board legislation to increase CAFE standards to 35 mpg on both light trucks and cars by model year 2017.9 Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) have also recently called for CAFE increases.10

But such increases have unintended safety consequences for the safety of drivers and passengers. The reason is because carmakers build lighter and smaller cars that burn less fuel to comply with CAFE standards.11 The trade-off is these lighter, smaller cars fare much worse in violent crashes, resulting in greater rates of death and injury for occupants.

A number of studies have documented the lethal consequences of requiring carmakers to improve fuel standards.

* According to a 2003 NHTSA study, when a vehicle is reduced by 100 pounds the estimated fatality rate increases as much as 5.63 percent for light cars weighing less than 2,950 pounds, 4.70 percent for heavier cars weighing over 2,950 pounds and 3.06 percent for light trucks. Between model years 1996 and 1999, these rates translated into additional traffic fatalities of 13,608 for light cars, 10,884 for heavier cars and 14,705 for light trucks.12

* A 2001 National Academy of Sciences panel found that constraining automobile manufacturers to produce smaller, lighter vehicles in the 1970s and early 1980s “probably resulted in an additional 1,300 to 2,600 traffic fatalities in 1993.”13

* An extensive 1999 USA Today analysis of crash data found that since CAFE went into effect in 1978, 46,000 people died in crashes they otherwise would have survived, had they been in bigger, heavier vehicles. This, according to a 1999 USA Today analysis of crash data since 1975, roughly figures to be 7,700 deaths for every mile per gallon gained in fuel economy standards.14

* The USA Today report also said smaller cars – such as the Chevrolet Cavalier or Dodge Neon – accounted for 12,144 fatalities or 37 percent of vehicle deaths in 1997, though such cars comprised only 18 percent of all vehicles.15

* A 1989 Harvard-Brookings study estimated CAFE “to be responsible for 2,200-3,900 excess occupant fatalities over ten years of a given [car] model years’ use.” Moreover, the researchers estimated between 11,000 and 19,500 occupants would suffer serious but nonfatal crash injuries as a result of CAFE.16

* The same Harvard-Brookings study found CAFE had resulted in a 500-pound weight reduction of the average car. As a result, occupants were put at a 14 to 27 percent greater risk of traffic death.17

* Passengers in small cars die at a much higher rate when involved in traffic accidents with large cars. Traffic safety expert Dr. Leonard Evans estimates that drivers in lighter cars may be 12 times as likely to be killed in a crash when the other vehicle is twice as heavy as the lighter car.18

Useful Quotes

In addition to the above studies, the following quotes provide a quick reference point of safety experts’ results and statements on the consequences of CAFE regulations as they relate to vehicle safety.

* “The negative relationship between weight and occupant fatality risk is one of the most secure findings in the safety literature.”
-Dr. Robert W. Crandall, Brookings Institution, and John D. Graham, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health19

* “Why Does CAFE kill? It does so because it constrains the production of larger cars and, in most modes of collision, larger, heavier cars are more protective of their occupants than are small cars.”
-Sam Kazman, Competitive Enterprise Institute20

* “[I]n terms of just the total number of lives, when I purchase a larger car, there is a reduction of risk. I’m safer, and so is society overall… We can conclude, beyond any reasonable doubt, that when weight is reduced, as it must be under CAFE, we will increase casualties.”
-Dr. Leonard Evans, physicist, author of Traffic Safety and president of Science Serving Society21

* “During the past 18 years, the office of Technology Assessment of the United States Congress, the National Safety Council, the Brookings Institution, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the General Motors Research Laboratories and the National Academy of Sciences all agreed that reductions in the size and weight of passenger cars pose a safety threat.”
-National Highway Traffic Safety Administration22

* “If you want to solve the safety puzzle, get rid of small cars.”
-Brian O’Neill, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety23

* “CAFE is a solution in search of a problem.”
-Dr. Robert W. Crandall, Brookings Institution24

* “The evidence is overwhelming that CAFE standards result in more highway deaths.”
-Charli E. Coon, J.D., Heritage Foundation25

* “The conclusion is that CAFE has caused, and is causing, increased deaths…. CAFE kills, and higher CAFE standards will kill even more.”
-Dr. Leonard Evans, physicist, author of Traffic Safety and President of Science Serving Society26

via CAFE Standards Kill: Congress’ Regulatory Solution to Foreign Oil Dependence Comes at a Steep Price.


What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



when 140 characters is not enough

Political Alchemist's Blog

A conservative wizard's site

As America goes, so goes the world--Praying for a spiritual renewal in America

A Patriotic Nurse

God, Country, Constitution

sharia unveiled

illuminating minds



"In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." George Orwell

Nonoy Manga

Manga, Hand Drawn, Animation, Drawing Lessons.

The Clockwork Conservative

All wound up about politics, history, culture... lots of stuff.

Conservative First

putting principles before party and technology into politics


Absolutely, positively, and unequivocally NOT an Obamamama!

Where critical thinking is critical

The Busy Post

------ "Nowhere at present is there such a measureless loathing of their country by educated people as in America." ------ Eric Hoffer


You can see the whole Earth from the Moon!

All Mirth and No Matter

opinions on writing, reading and pretty much anything not 'rithmatic

The United States Patriot

A topnotch site


"A fool also is full of words…" -Ecclesiastes 10:14a

Amber Qalagari

Traveler. Writer. Adventure Seeker.

et cetera*

Asininities of the Human Kind

Oyia Brown

A WordPress site to share a smile; then an anthology showing how things really are.

AmeriKim Patriot

Extreme American and PROUD!

Texana's Kitchen

Yummy food. Pithy commentary. Pretty pictures.

STI News

Politics Music News Satire And Entertainment

We Moved > Go To:



people just need enough rope

Economists For Romney

Economists Supporting Mitt Romney for President

Just Cruisin 2

Where Intellectuals and Rednecks foregather.

Armor of God

Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord


News , Blues and Guns ... Not Necessarily In That Order

Douglas Ernst Blog

Bare-knuckle commentary mixed with pop culture.

So I Married A Baseball Player...

Behind every married baseball player is a woman who didn't know what she was getting herself into.

living is a process please be patient with me.


at the Re-Birth of America!


Just What You Need When You're Freezing In The Dark


More Than Your Ordinary Bling

Real Life Dynamics User

Real Life Experiences With Microsoft Dynamics GP / CRM

Common Sense Newz

"The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind" Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

Young, Republican, & Free

Politics; As Seen by an Eighteen Year Old Republican

The Steadfast Patriot

Where Common Sense Reigns Supreme

The Mad Jewess

Mirror Site For Reflection

Samaritans Scalawags Scoundrels Fleecing the Sheep

Skulking Down the Dirt Roads of Life

Common Sense

Life, liberty and property!


a blog for a girl who doesn't know anything

Clement Allen Photography

Updates about my gliding and photographic life will appear here.


An Amateur Economist's Perspective on the Political Battlefield

Without wax /

Andy Ritchie blog

The RAP Sheet

(opinions of that rarest of creatures: a Republican Atheist Professor)

%d bloggers like this: