Economy Standards Be Relaxed

Administration officials said the tougher standards would protect the environment and strengthen the economy at the same time.

The targeted fuel efficiency would dramatically reduce vehicles’ greenhouse-gas emissions, the administration said, and would save consumers money thanks to greatly reduced spending on gasoline, encourage innovation, increase the global competitiveness of U.S. auto makers and create jobs in the auto industry.

All those arguments are still made today by supporters of the fuel-efficiency mandates.

But opponents say the standards are hurting consumers by driving up the price of cars. And the environmental impact, they say, isn’t enough to justify those costs. The auto industry, these critics argue, can thrive and remain innovative without the government setting stringent efficiency mandates.

Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, argues for scaling back the standards. Carol Lee Rawn, who directs the transportation program at Ceres, an advocacy group that promotes sustainable business practices, says the standards must be maintained.

YES: They Make Cars More Costly, With Little Environmental Gain

By Thomas J. Pyle

Buying a car is one of the most important decisions a family makes, and for many it’s a struggle to balance safety, affordability and their preferences for looks, size and other features.

Unfortunately, federal fuel-efficiency mandates are making these decisions more difficult by driving up the costs of new vehicles by thousands of dollars.

Indeed, in many cases it is now impossible for people to buy the car they want or need—or, in some cases, to buy a new car at all. They simply can’t afford it.

In effect, bureaucrats in Washington have decided for them what kind of car they can drive.

It’s time to scale back the regulations and return the decision of what type of vehicle to buy where it belongs—with the consumer.

Cars that consume less fuel are a great choice for many people, but for others, especially for families with small children, larger vehicles like minivans and SUVs are a necessity, not a luxury. These vehicles give families much more transportation flexibility, which is critical when trying to balance caring for children and work responsibilities.