by Erin Mundahl
A decade ago, with gas prices flirting with $4 a gallon, Americans worried about fuel efficiency. But today, after technological innovation opened up the shale fields and dramatically lowered gas prices, that worry has faded. Without the pressure of high gas prices, the Obama administration imposed government standards to pressure automakers to improve engine efficiency. Now that a secure domestic supply of gasoline exists, these is little justification for the stringent corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards issued in 2012, says a new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
“The Trump administration plan to ease fuel economy standards will save an estimated 1,000 lives a year on America’s roads and highways,” said Steve Milloy, author of the new report. “We should not let false fears and junk science about tailpipe emissions stop reforms that will reduce actual highway fatalities.”
The report wades into a debate over whether larger cars, with a higher crash safety rating, are better for overall consumer safety than smaller, lower emission cars. Although the best-selling cars in America are consistently small SUVs and trucks, which also score highly on consumer crash-test ratings, they are rated poorly on emissions efficiency. Regulators argue that lower emissions are a public health benefit on their own. Milloy, however, disagrees.