November 19 2012

Fuel Efficiency Standards

Emily Wismer

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Americans value a clean and healthy environment.  We also value safe, reliable, affordable transportation.  The Administration recently announced its intention to double the fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles.  These efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions come at a significant cost.

To meet higher fuel efficiency requirements, many manufacturers will make vehicles lighter, so they can go farther on less fuel.  Ford recently announced a plan to use an aluminum body, rather than steel, to reduce the F150 truck model's weight.  The problem is that aluminum is weaker than steel, and does not stand up as well in a crash.

Regrettably, the cost of fuel efficiency is often human lives: One study estimates that the downsizing of cars that was largely driven by the fuel efficiency standards of the 1970s and 80s resulted in between 1,300 to 2,600 additional deaths.

The new regulations will also burden manufacturers, raise the price of new and used cars, and make it harder for consumers to purchase vehicles.  American families are expected to have to pay $1,800-3,000 more for a new vehicle in 2025 because of the latest regulations.  As consumers are priced out of the new car market, more will seek used vehicles, pushing used car prices up as well.

The market already provides an incentive for consumers to choose fuel-efficient cars: lower fuel costs.  The government shouldn't push regulations that needlessly make cars more expensive and Americans less safe.

Click here to read the rest of this month's 6-page policy focus in PDF.

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