Over the years the NCPA has noted a number of problems with Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards – the fuel economy ratings touted for cars. CAFE standards were first imposed on consumers with the argument that they would reduce our dependence on foreign oil. They didn’t — as a number of our publications have noted.
Our authors, including myself, have repeatedly made the point that CAFE standards have resulted in thousands of premature deaths as people are forced into smaller, inherently less safe vehicles.
I also surveyed studies that showed that the environmental benefits with relation to global warming claimed for increasing CAFE standards were unlikely to materialize.
Now a new report demonstrates additional harms from the Obama administration’s recently proposed increase in CAFE standards. It seems that the new standards will cost so much to meet – and thus raise the price of new cars – that it will price millions of poor and middle income buyers out of the new car market. If they don’t buy new cars there will be no reduction in fuel economy or in environmental improvement. In addition, though the study doesn’t say this, car companies and their employees will suffer as sales decline. Most people want a win-win for the economy and the environment, why would the President propose a lose-lose?