Politicians portray fuel efficiency regulations as such a noble cause. Good for the environment! Lessens our dependence on foreign oil! Saves you money at the pump!
President Obama recently declared that auto companies' fleets must average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The way he puts it, "everyone wins. Consumers pay less for fuel, the economy as a whole runs more efficiently."
But as I point out in my syndicated column this week, everyone doesn't win. Regulations have costs:
The Center for Automotive Research says the new standard will raise the price of cars by about $7,000. You'd need to save a lot on fuel to break even.
But that's not the worst of it. The new rules will kill people.
Sam Kazman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute explained this on my Fox Business show last week.
The MPG standard "has been killing people for the last 30 years," Kazman said.
How can that be?
"It forces cars to be ... made smaller and lighter. ... They are simply worse in just about every type of auto collision."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration actually backs Kazman up. It estimates that smaller cars are responsible for an additional 2,000 deaths each year.
On the other side of the argument, Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Council said we were wrong-car manufacturers are working hard to make vehicles that are fuel efficient and safe:
"By increasing that gas mileage for our auto fleet, we can cut our oil consumption in this country by 4 million barrels per day by 2030. That would almost wipe out our OPEC purchases daily. It will make our country stronger [...] It's not necessarily a smaller car that we're talking about. You look at Chevy Malibu. That is a 3,400-pound car. It's not a small car. It's getting 33-miles to the gallon. We believe Detroit can do this."
Detroit will have to because government gets to use force.
But there are tradeoffs. Far better if Detroit did what its customers wanted. Better cars will arise if manufactures are free. Read the rest here.