Auto Service World
News   February 28, 2002   by Auto Service World

U.S. Anti-Government Group Opposes New CAFE Standards

A U.S. lobbying group has come out squarely against proposed tougher average fuel mileage minimums, saying that oil drilling should be expanded to wildlife refuges to satisfy Americans’ thirst for SUVs.
The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), which claims to have one million members and supporters in the U.S., stated its opposition to the bill to be debated this week in the U.S. congress.
“CCAGW opposes the increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to a combined average of at least 35 mpg (U.S.) for passenger cars and light trucks,” CCAGW president Tom Schatz said. “This increase will not reduce our dependence on foreign oil, reduce fatalities, or give consumers a wide variety of vehicle choices.”
“The U.S. now imports 52% of our oil, up from 35% in the 1970s. We also have smaller cars that result in greater road fatalities. Furthermore, people have chosen to drive light trucks or SUVs because other large passenger cars–such as station wagons–essentially disappeared due to the downsizing of cars so manufacturers could meet passenger automobile CAFE standards,” Schatz added.
“Americans want and need SUVs and light trucks. This attempt to increase CAFE standards is nothing more than the purveyors of political correctness trying to limit access to these type of vehicles.
“CCAGW believes that CAFE does not work as intended and is too costly, both in automobile design and loss of lives, for what it purports to save in gasoline usage. To wean America off of foreign markets, CCAGW supports more oil drilling in the United States, especially in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”
The group also said it opposes sections of the new bill which would help fund state programs designed to remove older vehicles from the roads, so called “clunker” programs.
“The states in turn will offer financial incentives to owners of passenger automobiles and light-duty trucks made more than 15 years ago to scrap these vehicles and encourage them to purchase new automobiles that may or may not be more fuel-efficient than the vehicles that were surrendered for scrappage.
“There is no cost estimate for this program. Furthermore, there is no figure for the additional credit to purchase a more fuel-efficient vehicle, which if enacted would simply be corporate welfare to the auto companies. This provision has all the symptoms of developing into a costly government program that can be handled far more efficiently and inexpensively by the private sector.
“Congress needs to stop meddling in the automobile industry,” Schatz concluded. “Instead, the price of fuel should dictate how much we drive and consumers should decide the kind of car they want.”

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