The Unitended Consequences Of Higher Gas Mileage Standards
The Federal government has imposed some pretty strict mileage standards on car makers. 35 mpg by 2016 and 54.5 mpg by 2025. Just check out the wonderful results of increased CAFE standards put out by the White House in the graphic above.
It all sounds and looks terrific, right?
Sure does…unless you look at the unintended consequences of these policies like TownHall.com columnist Harry R. Jackson, Jr. did in a recent piece.
According to Jackson’s recent column, these newly imposed CAFE standards will have two major effects.
First, the cost of new automobiles will increase between $3000 to $4800 per car. That’s according to figures by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). But these price increases don’t take into account the additional cost to the car owner to finance a loan for that more expensive vehicle–somewhere between $2000-$6000 depending on the length of the loan.
The increased cost of new cars will have a secondary effect of keeping 6 to 11 million low income drivers out of the new car market. Demand will increase for used vehicles which will result in higher prices for used cars.
Second, perhaps more significantly, and what the White House’s rosy infographic doesn’t tell us is these new CAFE standards will diminish traffic safety by increasing traffic injuries and deaths.
In order for auto makers to hit the government imposed mileage standards new cars will have to lose weight. Strong metals like steel will be replaced with light weight metals or plastics. But while these cars of the future will get great gas mileage they will also have less bulk to protect drivers and passengers from injury or death in a crash.
Jackson is not a lone voice on this, he explains it this way in his column:
The NHTSA, Brookings Institution, Harvard School of Public Health, National Academy of Sciences and
USA Today discovered a shocking reality. Even past and current mileage standards have resulted in thousands of additional fatalities, and tens of thousands of serious injuries, every year – above what would have happened if the government had not imposed those standards.
They also learned that drivers in lightweight cars were up to twelve times more likely to die in a crash – and far more likely to suffer serious injury and permanent disabilities.
Increasing mileage requirements by a whopping 19 mpg above current rules will make nearly all cars even less safe than they are today.
So, what’s the cost of government imposed higher mileage on car makers? What’s the cost for the millions of gallons of gasoline and barrels of oil which will be “saved”?
Thousands of human lives and billions of dollars in higher vehicle prices–awesome.
Read Jackson’s full column, “54.5 MPG and The Law of Unintended Consequences.”