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The Senate Should Be Lauded for Defeating
CAFE Standard Increase

For Immediate Release. March 14, 2002The Senate should be commended for their wise action on March 13, 2002, to give the Bush administration two years to develop its own mileage rules.  They also defeated an effort to increase the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards by 50 percent over 13 years for sport cars, sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks.

In terms of reducing consumption, the standards do not do a particularly effective job.  For example, the higher standards for automobiles affect only new vehicles, which constitute about seven percent of registered vehicles.  Any increase in fuel-efficiency requirements takes a long time to make a difference on the road.  Thus, in terms of regulating new vehicle mileage, it has little effect on gasoline consumption. 

Additionally, motorists are encouraged to drive more with better fuel mileage.  They also tend to purchase larger vehicles and get the same mileage which has a minimal effect on total consumption.  For example, motorists are driving twice as many miles since 1974 with an average domestic new car fuel economy increased 114 percent and light truck fuel economy increased 56 percent .  However, imported oil has increased from 35 percent of United States (U.S.) consumption to more than 52 percent.

Furthermore, safety must be considered when increasing CAFE standards.  For example, on average, for every 100 pounds reduction in new car weight to meet CAFE standards, between 440 and 780 additional people are killed in auto accidents found researchers at Harvard University and the Brookings Institution.  This represents per model year a total of 2,200 to 3,900 lives.

"Thank you, Senate, for delaying a program that would take more control out of the hands of the people and put it in the hands of government," said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of the American Voice Institute of Public Policy.

For Interviews Contact:

Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy

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