How many human lives is it worth to conserve oil?
President Obama wants to raise CAFE standards from 27.5 to 39 mpg, meaning that the average new car would have to achieve 39 miles to the gallon. In order to do so, automakers must manufacture lighter cars, and lighter cars make automobile accidents more likely to be fatal.
Many studies have shown the danger of lighter cars. By some calculations (via Power Line), CAFE standards have killed 46,000 people since they were instituted in 1975. That works out to over 1300 lives per year snuffed out to conserve oil. For perspective, around 700 Americans have died in the Iraq War each year since it began. So CAFE standards have been about twice as deadly as the Iraq War. However, unlike the Iraq War, CAFE standards show no sign of ending.
President Obama wishes not only to continue CAFE requirements, but to tighten them dramatically. Make no mistake, this will kill people. How many? No one knows. Not many even seem to care. The President didn’t mention the issue in his speech, nor did the White House press release.