J.R. Dunn at American Thinker writes of Death by CAFE Standards:
Media discussions of the administration's new mileage rules have covered about everything except how many people they will kill.
Manipulating fuel efficiency standards has been a favored method of fulfilling environmental prerogatives for thirty years and more. Like most Green initiatives, it is essentially ritualistic. Rather than actually confront the problem at issue, it is instead intended to instill a sense of virtue (what economist Robert J. Samuelson calls "psychic benefits"), while at the same time acting as a punitive measure against those opposed to Green ideology. As is true of many environmentalist programs, it has the unintended side-effect of killing large numbers of unknowing individuals.
. . . .
Fuel standards are the longest-lived of an entirely futile array of attempts to address 1970s oil shortages. They first went into effect in the 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy program, better known as CAFE. Under the CAFE standards, domestic and foreign automobile manufacturers had to meet a certain mileage standard in their cars and light trucks. They were allowed a very short time to carry this out before fines were levied, so they met the challenge in the easiest way possible: by designing small engines that used less fuel while lowering the size and weight of new vehicles to preserve performance.
The new standards had no success in lowering fuel consumption. Quite the contrary -- since it now cost less to fill the tank, people drove more. Within a few years, this "rebound effect" doubled average fuel usage. As a result, oil imports increased from 35% of consumption in 1975 to 52% by the year 2000.
The new regulations did accomplish one thing -- they killed drivers and passengers in large numbers. By lightening cars and removing material, auto companies were inadvertently discarding the armor that protected motorists in the event of a crash. Similarly, the compressed new models lacked space for impact forces to attenuate before causing damage and injury. Drivers in lightweight cars were as much as twelve times more likely to die in a crash. It was once said about American autos that they were "built like tanks." Many of the new models from the late '70s onward more closely resembled go-carts -- and proved to be about as sturdy.
Studies have repeatedly demonstrated the fatal results of mileage regulations, starting in 1989 with the Brookings Institution (in collaboration with the Harvard School of Public Health), followed by USA Today in 1999, the National Academy of Sciences in 2001, and at last the federal government's own National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration in 2003. This formidable lineup of organizations all came to the same conclusion: Fuel standards kill.
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 and 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. The National Academy of Sciences found that smaller, lighter vehicles "probably resulted in an additional 1,300 to 2,600 traffic fatalities in 1993." The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration study demonstrated that reducing a vehicle's weight by only one hundred pounds increased the fatality rate by as much as 5.63% for light cars, 4.70% for heavier cars, and 3.06% for light trucks. These rates translated into additional traffic fatalities of 13,608 for light cars, 10,884 for heavier cars, and 14,705 for light trucks between 1996 and 1999.
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.
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But the mileage standards as applied by the Obama administration (not to forget the Bush administration before them) are different. They are different because everybody knows about them. No serious dissent exists concerning the fact that the CAFE standards have killed tens of thousands of Americans. If a private company were to be found responsible for even a small fraction of this level of fatalities, the sky would crack, Congress would go into twenty-four hour sessions, and John Edwards would experience a new lease on life. (Anyone doubting this should consider Toyota's recent travails. It is uncertain that anything, anything at all, is wrong with Toyota's products. Yet the media and government are tearing at the company like a pack of wolves after an injured deer.)
But in the case of fuel standards, the government itself is responsible -- and that's different. Governments get away with things that private companies can't. Even policies that enable deaths outnumbering those of all American wars of the past seventy years. Deaths that are unnecessary, deaths that can be avoided, deaths that are being encouraged in order to solve problems that can be overcome in any number of other ways. (Not to mention those problems -- such as global warming -- that can't even be demonstrated to exist.) Yet the topic doesn't even come up in debate. Did anyone involved in the health care "debate" ever mention how many people the British National Health Care system kills every year? That number is 95,000. The equivalent number for the U.S., adjusted for population, would be 450,000 a year. That's the "change" that's coming our way.
Such regulations embody the next step in the process by which the relationship between government and people begins to resemble that of a lawnmower and an anthill.
Regulations cost Americans a mind-boggling $1.2 trillion every year. But that is just part of the story. As the unintended but entirely predictable consequences of fuel efficiency standards demonstrate, federal regulations may also cost you your life.
“Why are you not being everything you can be right now?” – Gabrielle Bouliane
Life’s short. I’ve had enough loss in my life to always remind me you never know how much time you have to make the most of what you’ve got.
I follow the advice of one of my mentors, living each day as if it’s my last, but planning to live 100 years. I never let fear or resistance get in the way. It’s a path of giving my best where I have my best to give, living my values, following my growth, and creating the experiences I want in my life.
I chase my dreams, but I enjoy the process. I share what I learn along the way and I help lift others up. Maybe that star is just out of my reach, but, hey, if you stand on my shoulders, maybe you can reach yours, and that’s a win, too.
I don’t live with regrets. I know we don’t regret the things in life we do, it’s the things we didn’t. Now and then I use my rocking chair test to remind myself what’s important. I imagine my future self looking back — “What do I wish I would have done, while I could?”
"In the five years since Terri Schiavo was slowly dehydrated to death, her loving family has been subjected to repeated callousness and intentional cruelties–canards about their motives, personal vituperation, etc.. That’s life in the public eye. But now a new line of despicability has been crossed that cannot be allowed to stand.
Fox’s Family Guy stooped even beneath its usual scatological obsessions to literally mock a dead woman, whose only “crime” was to have been profoundly cognitively disabled. The episode–which I embedded below only after much thought, opens with a fictional school play, Terri Schiavo: The Musical. In it, Terri is depicted as having been hooked up to every conceivable machine, a total lie since all she needed to remain alive was food and water delivered through a tube. But the facts this case have been continually misstated from the beginning, so that is nothing new.
But what is novel–and truly beneath contempt, not only because it mocks and degrades Terri, but also, everyone now living with serious cognitive impairments–are the lyrics. “Michael Schiavo” says, “She’s a vegetable,” and the chorus responds, “We hate vegetables!” to which the audience breaks up in laughter. Later she is depicted as having “mashed potato brains,” which are poured into a bowl, and being “the most expensive plant you’ll ever see.”
This doesn’t just mock a dead woman who can’t defend herself. It is hate speech against people similarly situated. Indeed, the V-word should be rendered just as societally unacceptable as the N-word has thankfully become. Both epithets serve the same purpose, that is, to demean, dehumanize, and exclude–so as to open the door to oppression, exploitation, and killing." (Welsey J. Smith)