CAFE standard sound off

The new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard has been released and there is no shortage of opinions on its worth. Here is a roundup of various responses to the Obama administration’s new fuel efficiency standard:

 

It’s great!

An NHTSA press release touts the benefits of saving $1.7 trillion in gas, cutting 6 billion metric tons of GHGs, and reducing total need for oil by 12 billion barrels. A Baltimore Sun editorial calls the updated standards a “win-win for automakers, the environment and national security”

 

It’s not enough!

In this posting, the Rocky Mountain Institute asserts that the automotive industry doesn’t really need 14 years to get up to a 54.5 mpg average.

 

You’re doing it wrong!

In a press release, VW points out a lack of consideration for clean diesel and a leniency on larger trucks.

 

Safety will suffer.

Meanwhile, Investor’s Business Daily questioned the effects of such standards on road safety, citing a 2001 study from the National Academy of Sciences which “found that the CAFÉ standards cost up to 2,600 lives” in one year alone. The news article concludes with a quote that “a gas tax hike is a more efficient, faster and cheaper way to improve fuel economy than CAFÉ mandates.”

And a survey of automotive engineers adds a more qualified perspective to the conversation.

Gas tax revenues will decline.

American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) has also chimed in to make clear the impacts of the new CAFE standards on gas tax revenues, which it estimates would decrease by $65 billion.

While different stakeholders may disagree about the degree to which government should mandate efficiency, none can ignore the problem created with the country’s link between gas use and transportation funding. Rising fuel efficiency, combined with the entrance of electric vehicles into the market, will only hasten the need for reforming how we finance our road and transit systems.