If the left was as truly as open minded as they claim, they would reverse course on these bans, but they don't and the result is people die from their hubris.
So let's challenge those two premises, and then move on to the unintended consequences of Utopian regulations, to change behavior.
1) Has it "saved the environment"? By their own standards, CO2 is a pollutant. (Which I'll be addressing in a future post) What has CO2 done since the inception of the CAFE standards?
2) It's original goal was to reduce the amount of oil imported. Did it accomplish that? Initially the data makes it appear that way after ten years. However that's not taking into account two things. Firstly, increased oil production domestically allowed under Reagan's lax on regulatory burden. Secondly, decreased consumption in the early eighties from a recession that was the worst since the great depression. (unlike the one Obama inherited). You can see this in the Total oil used which also decreased from 1980 to 1985.
|Year||CO2 Level||CO2 - %change||Oil Imported||OI - %Change||total oil used||TOU - %Change|
|1978||336.48 ppm||2,319,826||Not Available|
So what does the data tell us?
1) CO2 has not stopped increased, despite the push for smaller cars. In fact as an average, CO2 has remained at a constant state of increase, completely separate from economic activity. (see point 2)
2) Imported oil hasn't decreased, today is a greater percentage of total oil used, then it was in 1978. It was 13.6% in 1978 and is 17.5% today. You can also see in total oil used, that recessions changed behavior more than regulations.
What about my initial point, that CAFE standards kill (and that wonderful picture in the beginning)?
According to the Brookings Institution, a 500-lb weight reduction of the average car increased annual highway fatalities by 2,200-3,900 and serious injuries by 11,000 to 19,500 per year. USA Today found that 7,700 deaths occurred for every mile per gallon gained in fuel economy standards. Smaller cars accounted for up to 12,144 deaths in 1997, 37% of all vehicle fatalities for that year.National Review has another brilliant unintended consequence. Fewer people will be able to afford newer cars, as regulatory burden drives prices upward.
How many deaths have resulted? 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.
Given all this why hasn't the state repealed the CAFE standards?
Reagan said it best: