Stop Fuel Efficiency Mandates

Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (CAFE), the official title of the U.S. fuel efficiency mandate, is one of the more outdated laws still on the books. CAFE was created back in the 1970s in response to the oil price shocks of that decade and a Malthusian fear about the world running out of oil. Whatever the initial logic of the program, recent years have shown it to be an anachronism. The U.S. is awash in oil, producing more than ever before in our history, and notwithstanding political turmoil in certain countries, there is no prospect of the world market running out of oil.

These regulations, called Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (CAFE) have some serious negative side effects. History shows that to meet fuel economy mandates, automakers make cars lighter and less safe and the additional technology required for greater fuel economy makes automobiles more expensive. This dangerous precedent is a direct result of the Obama Administration’s willingness to double down on bad policy.

American consumers have also shown their disdain for the CAFE program, overwhelmingly favoring trucks and SUVs as their vehicles of choice.

Thankfully, the Trump Administration has – through their proposed rule – taken meaningful steps to reduce the burden and irrationality of this outdated and unnecessarily complicated mandate.

The fundamental question associated with this mandate is clear: who should decide what types of cars consumers should buy, consumers themselves or bureaucrats in Sacramento or Washington? We think that answer is clear, and, consequently, welcome the Administration’s action.

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