T Nation

CAFE Standards Kill 2000 per Year

“CAFE standards already result in the deaths of approximately 2,000 Americans every year, since smaller cars are less crashworthy. By failing to acknowledge this in their policymaking, Congress has cost thousands of Americans their lives. Now Congress is poised to compound the dangers by raising CAFE standards still further – so much so, it may kill the domestic auto industry itself.”

http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR061907.html

Well, at least the caribou and snails and such get to live without pipelines or refineries near them.

Nonsense.

We can ban cars outright and then traffic deaths will really go down.

The truth is large vehicles like SUVs are more likely to kill their driver, other drivers and pedestrians on a per capita basis. The statistics bear this out.

People driving or riding in a sport utility vehicle in 2003 were nearly 11 percent more likely to die in an accident than people in cars, the figures show. The government began keeping detailed statistics on the safety of vehicle categories in 1994.

The traffic safety agency reported last week that there were 16.42 deaths of S.U.V. occupants in accidents last year for every 100,000 registered S.U.V.'s. The figure for passenger cars was 14.85 deaths for each 100,000 registered; pickups were slightly higher than cars at 15.17 deaths per 100,000, while vans were lowest at 11.2 occupant deaths for every 100,000 registered.

This is not directly related to CAFE standards but hopefully it will clear up some misconceptions about safety.

All that’s needed is to make drivers think more about what they are doing and to drive safer.

Here’s an idea for you…

Remove all the safety devices from the cars - ESP, Airbags, the lot. Even safety belts.

Now - In the middle of the steering wheel install a 1 foot long steel spike - make it very sharp with barbs & stuff on it. Point it directly at the drivers chest.

I think this may help reduce accidents quite nicely.

Well I’m certainly convinced when you post non-biased broad view research articles like that to back your points. It’s been shown time and time again that SUV’s are the most dangerous vehicles to be in on the road. And your other comment makes me believe that you are somehow hanging onto 1950’s era thinking when it comes to energy resources.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Nonsense.

We can ban cars outright and then traffic deaths will really go down.

The truth is large vehicles like SUVs are more likely to kill their driver, other drivers and pedestrians on a per capita basis. The statistics bear this out.

[/quote]

How can a smaller lighter car be safer than a larger vehicle? I’m not arguing, just want to know, since you’re an engineer.

It would seem to defy the laws of Physics.

Of course, if a car is taller, it WOULD tend to roll more easily, I’d think. It just seems that an Abrahms is safer than a Corolla.

More mass = more intertia, which means the vehicle will always physically be less responsive to driver input than a smaller car. A F1 car can hit a barrier head on to a dead stop at 100mph and the driver can walk away. Crash impact capabilities are a result of smart engineering, not sheer size.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:

It just seems that an Abrahms is safer than a Corolla.

[/quote]

Unless you’re the one in the Corolla.

[quote]Donut62 wrote:
Well I’m certainly convinced when you post non-biased broad view research articles like that to back your points. It’s been shown time and time again that SUV’s are the most dangerous vehicles to be in on the road. And your other comment makes me believe that you are somehow hanging onto 1950’s era thinking when it comes to energy resources.[/quote]

Keep reading.

"Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren of the Cato Institute explain why this is the case:

Energy efficient appliances reduce the costs of operation. This might not be a big deal when it comes to, say, the television set (we won’t watch more TV just because it costs a little less to turn on the set). But for appliances like air conditioners that make all the difference during peak demand periods, energy efficiency reduces the marginal cost of energy services and thus increases – not decreases – energy consumption. This is a well-known phenomenon called the ‘rebound effect.’ The same goes for automobile fuel efficiency. Environmentalists argue that increasing the miles per gallon of the cars we drive would save more energy than increased drilling could produce. But the data show that fuel consumption goes up whenever automobile fuel efficiency goes up. Nearly all the gains in fuel efficiency disappear once we account for the demonstrable increases in driving that such investments produce."

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
How can a smaller lighter car be safer than a larger vehicle? I’m not arguing, just want to know, since you’re an engineer.

It would seem to defy the laws of Physics.

Of course, if a car is taller, it WOULD tend to roll more easily, I’d think. It just seems that an Abrahms is safer than a Corolla.

[/quote]

This is probably the main reason. Ever since the early 90s when we started to see a huge explosion of SUVs, this was the number one concern: their tendency to roll, even at medium speeds in the 30 mph range (I seem to recall early Ford Explorers were especially bad).

I don’t think SUVs and large pickups should be banned, but I do think they should require a special certification in addition to a regular license. I also think that tests for drivers licenses should be much more stringent in general and there should be less drivers on the road because of it.

Watch the test crash of the smart car if you think that smaller means bad news in a crash. Of course, it’s arguable that the people would survive the wreck at those speeds because of the way the car is built, but it makes the point.

I might be mistaken (though I’m 99% sure I’m not), but I believe the CAFE standards, and the new law raising them, apply only to the category of cars and not to SUVs. In which case, the original point stands – if you take cars and make them smaller and/or lighter on average, they’re not as crashworthy. Simple physics.

I’m not sure if the standards for SUVs were also raised. But if you’re arguing that you’re better off in a car than in an SUV, you might have an argument there, according to that NYT article – though it’s debatable, as the article does acknowledge that in certain types of crashes you would be better off in an SUV.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:

People driving or riding in a sport utility vehicle in 2003 were nearly 11 percent more likely to die in an accident than people in cars, the figures show. The government began keeping detailed statistics on the safety of vehicle categories in 1994.

The traffic safety agency reported last week that there were 16.42 deaths of S.U.V. occupants in accidents last year for every 100,000 registered S.U.V.'s. The figure for passenger cars was 14.85 deaths for each 100,000 registered; pickups were slightly higher than cars at 15.17 deaths per 100,000, while vans were lowest at 11.2 occupant deaths for every 100,000 registered.

This is not directly related to CAFE standards but hopefully it will clear up some misconceptions about safety.[/quote]

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
Nonsense.

We can ban cars outright and then traffic deaths will really go down.

The truth is large vehicles like SUVs are more likely to kill their driver, other drivers and pedestrians on a per capita basis. The statistics bear this out.

How can a smaller lighter car be safer than a larger vehicle? I’m not arguing, just want to know, since you’re an engineer.

It would seem to defy the laws of Physics.

Of course, if a car is taller, it WOULD tend to roll more easily, I’d think. It just seems that an Abrahms is safer than a Corolla.

[/quote]

Mostly accident avoidance at higher speeds. Lighter cars are easier to slow and easier to steer.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
Environmentalists argue that increasing the miles per gallon of the cars we drive would save more energy than increased drilling could produce. But the data show that fuel consumption goes up whenever automobile fuel efficiency goes up. Nearly all the gains in fuel efficiency disappear once we account for the demonstrable increases in driving that such investments produce."
[/quote]

First off, you would need the data set to see how they spun it. Secondly, you would have to look at the data and estimate the optimal point between the two extremes. I gaurantee that it is far from where we currently are before the rebound effect of economics come swining back at us.

And Damici, I believe the new CAFE standards will apply to SUV’s and Light Trucks as well.

[quote]Renton wrote:
All that’s needed is to make drivers think more about what they are doing and to drive safer.

Here’s an idea for you…

Remove all the safety devices from the cars - ESP, Airbags, the lot. Even safety belts.

Now - In the middle of the steering wheel install a 1 foot long steel spike - make it very sharp with barbs & stuff on it. Point it directly at the drivers chest.

I think this may help reduce accidents quite nicely.

[/quote]

I always thought a shotgun shell in place of the airbag would work.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
Donut62 wrote:
Well I’m certainly convinced when you post non-biased broad view research articles like that to back your points. It’s been shown time and time again that SUV’s are the most dangerous vehicles to be in on the road. And your other comment makes me believe that you are somehow hanging onto 1950’s era thinking when it comes to energy resources.

Keep reading.

"Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren of the Cato Institute explain why this is the case:

Energy efficient appliances reduce the costs of operation. This might not be a big deal when it comes to, say, the television set (we won’t watch more TV just because it costs a little less to turn on the set). But for appliances like air conditioners that make all the difference during peak demand periods, energy efficiency reduces the marginal cost of energy services and thus increases – not decreases – energy consumption. This is a well-known phenomenon called the ‘rebound effect.’ The same goes for automobile fuel efficiency. Environmentalists argue that increasing the miles per gallon of the cars we drive would save more energy than increased drilling could produce. But the data show that fuel consumption goes up whenever automobile fuel efficiency goes up. Nearly all the gains in fuel efficiency disappear once we account for the demonstrable increases in driving that such investments produce."

[/quote]

I would love to know where these numbers come from. When did fuel efficiency go up and what other factors caused an increase in our driving habits? It seems the data would be very limited.

Our driving has been increasing for quite a while and it has been a long time since we increased our mileage standards.

[quote]Renton wrote:
All that’s needed is to make drivers think more about what they are doing and to drive safer.

Here’s an idea for you…

Remove all the safety devices from the cars - ESP, Airbags, the lot. Even safety belts.

Now - In the middle of the steering wheel install a 1 foot long steel spike - make it very sharp with barbs & stuff on it. Point it directly at the drivers chest.

I think this may help reduce accidents quite nicely.
[/quote]

Back in the 50’s, they supposedly had a car with a spike-shaped ornament sticking out of the middle of the steering wheel. It’s how Sammy Davis Jr. lost his eye…“allegedly”. Wish I knew the name of the car.

It was the 50’s you know. Back when doctors were smoking in commercials and recommending their brand of choice, or so I’ve heard.

Yup, you’re right (as per Wikipedia, anyway). The fleet-wide average requirement will be raised to 35 mpg (!), though that’s by 2020. This includes cars and light trucks. Though I’m not certain if they have separate requirements for the two categories – maybe they do, but it doesn’t sound like it.

Regardless, to get the overall (including cars AND light trucks) average up to 35 (!) sounds like a MASSIVE change – so massive that I bet that will almost undoubtedly compromise safety, big-time.

But who knows? That’s 12 years away. Maybe technology will improve radically between now and then. Let’s hope. I bet it sure will drive car prices up, though.

There’s no use meddling with shit like this. It generally just creates more problems than it solves. The market should be left to sort things out on its own. Even with gas prices being much, much higher than they were a few years ago people’s demand for bigger, faster cars (and SUVs) has only SLIGHTLY abated just now, and I mean barely.

[quote]Donut62 wrote:
Headhunter wrote:
Environmentalists argue that increasing the miles per gallon of the cars we drive would save more energy than increased drilling could produce. But the data show that fuel consumption goes up whenever automobile fuel efficiency goes up. Nearly all the gains in fuel efficiency disappear once we account for the demonstrable increases in driving that such investments produce."

First off, you would need the data set to see how they spun it. Secondly, you would have to look at the data and estimate the optimal point between the two extremes. I gaurantee that it is far from where we currently are before the rebound effect of economics come swining back at us.

And Damici, I believe the new CAFE standards will apply to SUV’s and Light Trucks as well.[/quote]

Ban Women from Driving

It does not have to compromise safety. Safety features often add weight to the cars. what manufacturers have been doing is increasing horsepower to offset the heavier weight. So, one way to increase fuel economy across a fleet is to use smaller engines/less horsepower. Which sucks because we all need top speeds of over 150 mph, especially in school zones.

We’re not talking about safety features – I think all cars nowadays are required to have front and side airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control (soon), etc. That’s not the issue, as that’s all a given at this point. What we are talking about is the fact that increased fuel economy standards will necessitate lighter cars across the board.

The point is that in a high-speed collision, a smaller, lighter car will be crushed/rumpled/smooshed beyond belief, whereas a bigger, heavier, more sturdily built car will fare better. If a Mini Cooper smashed into a tree at 45 mph in an offset head-on collision – (keeping in mind that they’d both have airbags, seatbelts, etc.) – do you think the passengers would fare as well as if they’d had that same collision in a Mercedes-Benz S600? Not a chance.

[quote]Tex Ag wrote:
It does not have to compromise safety. Safety features often add weight to the cars. what manufacturers have been doing is increasing horsepower to offset the heavier weight. So, one way to increase fuel economy across a fleet is to use smaller engines/less horsepower. Which sucks because we all need top speeds of over 150 mph, especially in school zones.[/quote]