The video above, "The Energy Debate: Just the Facts," is from the Heritage Foundation and includes the results of a study on CAFE and safety that I think may have been misstated. The video starts out by asking the loaded question "why will raising CAFE standards hurt Americans?" to which Ben Lieberman, a Senior Policy Analyst at The Heritage Foundation, answers:
Raising CAFE standards will make cars less safe. In order to meet these standards cars have to be made smaller which makes them less safe in crashes. The National Academy of Sciences have confirmed this effect. Past CAFE standards have caused an estimate 1,300 to 2,600 lives per year. So, tightening these standards will only add to the death toll on the highways.
Now, let's take a look at how the study was presented to the Congress:
There have been adverse consequences as well. Safety is most important. The majority of the committee concludes that the downsizing and downweighting that occurred in the 1970s and 80s (partially in response to CAFE) resulted in an additional 1,300 to 2,600 fatalities in 1993. While fatalities were declining in this period, most committee members believe that they would have declined much more had the downweighting and downsizing not occurred. Two members of the committee dissent from this view. They believe that the data does not support this conclusion, and that the net effect on highway fatalities of the increases in fuel economy may have been zero. David Greene, one of the authors of the dissent in the report, may elaborate on that conclusion.
So, the study concludes CAFE was "partially" responsible. Maybe. In 1993, fatalities were actually going down at the time and not everyone on the committee agreed with the conclusion. What are some of the dissenting views from the National Academies? David Greene found "higher mpg is significantly correlated with fewer fatalities." I think the Heritage Foundation misstates the conclusions but we want to know what do you think. Did they cross the line? Do you think higher CAFE mpg requirements increases fatalities?