Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Quote of the Day: Death By CAFE Standards

"How many deaths have resulted [from CAFE standards]? Depending on which study you choose, the total ranges from 41,600 to 124,800. To that figure we can add between 352,000 and 624,000 people suffering serious injuries, including being crippled for life. In the past thirty years, fuel standards have become one of the major causes of death and misery in the United States -- and one almost completely attributable to human stupidity and shortsightedness."


At 7/27/2011 10:13 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

You mean stupidity like driving 80 MPH and less than one car length apart?

How did those studies disambiguate the smaller car mileage/safety effect ( which I don't dispute) from everything else? Increased fuel usage results in more deaths, too. How did they calculate the Delta?

At 7/27/2011 11:19 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

I favor gasoline taxes and no CAFE standards--but this is weak. People are going to drive smaller cars when gasoline gets more expensive.

Also, if you want to down this road, how many lives are saved by airbags and seatbelts?

US auto deaths have been going down, and are actually a great success story....

At 7/27/2011 11:38 PM, Blogger LoneSnark said...

what is the ratio of deaths between making new cars smaller, therefore less safe, and making new cars more expensive, so more old cars on the road ?

At 7/28/2011 12:51 AM, Blogger Rick said...

That quote would make just as much sense if it said blogging standards.

At 7/28/2011 7:48 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

i wish i still had it, but one of my econ professors in college did a study demonstrating that air bags increased the number of car accidents. (though they do reduce fatalities)

actually, it's the reduction of fatalities that increases accidents. in purely economic terms, installing an airbag decreases the price of a crash making you more likely to consume one.

if you want people to drive safely, take out the airbags and replace them with the point if a spear. imagine how much more careful you'd be looking at then when you drove.

i have not seen this cafe article, but i honestly cannot think of a methodology you could use to separate out cafe from every other change going on in cars.

my suspicion is that they started with their conclusions and went data mining.

At 7/28/2011 10:59 AM, Blogger AIG said...

I'm sorry, but what are these "studies" and claims based on? I'm not automotive expert, but I am an engineer and in my mind I can't find the correlation between fuel consumption and "safety", considering that safety isn't a function of simply "weight".

But I've heard these claims in a lot of places, and sometimes us "libertarians" or free market people make such claims because we've heard them elsewhere, without knowing whether they hold any water or not. There's lots to criticize CAFE standards on...primarily on the fact that they don't actually drive fuel efficiency and that all they really do is lead to reclassification of vehicles. But causing "deaths", may not be one of them.

Here's a question: are we assuming that government can actually mumble its way into driving fuel efficiency improvements? Because if we are assuming it can, thats quite an achievement. But from what I've seen, fuel efficiency improvements have been mostly driven by fuel prices, whereas CAFE standards typically lag.

At 7/28/2011 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It always puts a smile on my face when someone (morganovich) mentions the "Tullock airbag" -- a striking illustration par excellence.

At 7/28/2011 12:43 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"my suspicion is that they started with their conclusions and went data mining."

Very likely. But I'll hold until I actually get to read this 'study". But I have yet to be convinced, even slightly, by these claims and "studies" in the past. The fact that such a "study" doesn't involve any engineers of various types, who may have expertise in the field, is sufficient to conclude it is likely just an exercise in statistics.

Simply put, we need to pick our battles along real avenues, not try to conjure up emotional responses where none are needed or exist.

Its like that "libertarian" economist, whose name I forgot, who keeps talking about roads and government control of roads (one of those types). He keeps repeating the same old claim that government control of roads has led to MILLIONS of deaths. It is such an incredibly ridiculous argument, one has to wonder where he gets his numbers from, or how exactly "market" roads would prevent deaths and accidents any differently?

At 7/28/2011 1:24 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...


"if you want people to drive safely, take out the airbags and replace them with the point if a spear. imagine how much more careful you'd be looking at then when you drove."

While not exactly pointed, these were equally effective at higher speeds, with less loss of body fluid.

Considering non-collapsing steering columns, in fact non collapsing cars, that caused the steering wheel to decelerate at about the same rate as the front bumper, and no seat belts, they did a pretty effective job.

Rumor has it that Sammy Davis Jr. lost his eye to one of these.


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