Focus Point - Killing SUVs

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. The war on SUVs continues unabated as environmentalists are working on congress to increase the gas mileage requirements for American cars.

Their tool is the CAFÉ standard - the corporate average fuel economy standard. For cars, it's 27.5 miles per gallon, but for light trucks it's 20.7. Car makers met the standards by making cars lighter. There's just one problem. Lighter cars kill people.

Reports by the National Academy of Sciences, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution all say the same thing: lighter cars mean more deaths on the highway. Since 1978 the weight of an average car has dropped about 1000 pounds. The Brookings/Harvard study concluded that in 1997 lower car weights accounted for between 2600 and 4500 traffic deaths.

Now, environmentalists want to mandate even lighter cars using the CAFÉ standard as the club. And if a few more people die? Well, as least we'll be environmentally pure.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next time.