by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
On April 6, 2020, the John Locke Foundation, along with dozens of other nonprofit organizations, signed on to an American Energy Alliance letter to the Trump administration. The letter expresses the coalition’s support for the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule.
The SAFE Vehicles Rule amends the long-standing Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFÉ) standards. These standards required automakers meet certain corporate-wide average fuel mileage requirements. To comply with these standards, automakers had to make enough high-MPG cars (e.g. small sedans) to average out their low-MPG cars (e.g. trucks and SUVs).
The letter explains:
To meet the mandate, automakers often have sold smaller, less desirable cars at a discount, while increasing prices on larger, more popular cars, crossovers, SUVs, and trucks. Today, the average transaction price for light vehicles in the United States is approaching $39,000…
The fuel economy mandate has imposed a needless cost on car buyers of around $4,000 per vehicle and the previous administration’s plan would have cost car buyers more than $7,000 by 2025.
The mandate harmed those with the need or desire for large vehicles, such as large families. The letter reads:
[T]he previous administration’s CAFE mandate would have made this problem even worse, shifting burdens onto families with needs or preferences for larger vehicles. Such families not only include those with children, but also those with individuals having mobility challenges. Those families and individuals who prefer or need trucks, SUVs, and crossovers pay more to subsidize those who buy smaller vehicles or electric vehicles under the existing mandate. This significant, needless, and unjust cost is a very real regressive tax on American families that has made our country worse off.
The SAFE Vehicles Rule alters the annual corporate increase in fuel economy from 5 percent to a more manageable 1.5 percent. This precise change could have sweeping benefits. The letter reads:
The new rule is projected to save Americans $1,400 over the life of a new vehicle. More importantly, it will reduce collision fatalities by more than 3,300 annually and it will reduce hospitalizations by tens of thousands. This rule gives consumers a chance to have newer, safer, and more affordable vehicles.
Read the full letter below.