23 April 2009

Death by C.A.F.E. standard

and then some

so anyway, I'm plowing around the 'sphere the other day and I find "The Danger of Small Cars" from John Lott:

"Why aren't people's safety and lives as important as saving some gas? Why can't we let consumers make these decisions on the trade-offs that they are willing to make?"
Dr.Lott cites a Wall Street Journal article:
"Critics of a shift to smaller cars have a powerful ally in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS, the insurance industry's auto-safety research arm, has long argued against small cars on safety grounds. Earlier this month, the IIHS upped the ante with a video of crash tests it conducted pitting midsize cars against three new minicars.

The Institute's images of a Smart for two getting crushed and thrown spinning into the air after a head-on collision with a midsize Mercedes C-Class sedan dramatize every driver's worst fear -- that no matter how careful you are, someday a car will veer into your lane. That's the moment when you want your car to save your life, and never mind the mileage. . . . ."
I opined on the subject back near the end of January of this year:
"Being employed in The Stoopid Business™, I have a concerned interest in the government telling automakers and subsequently the automaker's suppliers (after all, we suppliers make the parts that the automakers merely assemble to make cars) how to do our jobs. Couple that with the recent news regarding environmental regulations and new C.A.F.E. standards; yeah, you could say that I'm uncomfortable with more government involvement.....

.....Increasing the C.A.F.E. standards has two immediate impacts: first, more people will die in car crashes. The quickest, cheapest way to improve fuel economy is to reduce vehicle weight; the lighter the vehicle, the less likely it (and it's occupants) survives the crash. Period. Full Stop."

The second "immediate impact" not mentioned above is that ".....higher C.A.F.E. standards points to "downsizing" for the automakers and their suppliers." Guess where my personal interest lies.....

Re-reading the WSJ piece, I find this little nugget towards the end:
"The government should also require large pickup trucks to be substantially more efficient, which would also likely make them more expensive, Mr. Wenzel says. People who could prove they need a truck for work could get a tax break to offset the added cost, but not people who want to use a truck as a personal commuter vehicle, he says.

"If people want to use trucks as cars," he says, they should be considered "a luxury item.""
The aforementioned Mr.Wenzel is a "researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley national laboratory who analyzes vehicle crash data" and he is also a wanker:
"Wenzel.....says better fuel economy and safety can be compatible, provided car makers make smart use of technology and policy makers take steps to reduce the disparity in the size of vehicles on the road."
I bet they didn't "keep score"during Mr.Wenzel's involvment in the youth soccer league.....that just wouldn't be fair
"SUVs may give their occupants more protection in a collision with a lighter vehicle, he says. But in effect, the SUV owners are transferring risk from themselves to others."
Damn right, skippy. The Flagship of the Fleet here at Casa de Miguel is a freakin' gimormous Ford Expedition NBX (yeah, I had to look it up, too) for exactly that reason, in all it's 5.8 liter, 12 MPG (when TheMissus™ is driving; I get closer to 14 MPG) glory. It's safer because it's bigger. The Genetical Twinlets and The Boy know no other means of conveyance on purpose.

Fifty-seven hundred pounds of rolling American Ford Expedition steel: You say Prius, I say speed-bump. At the end of the day (as Our President is fond of saying) "I won".

The WSJ piece also links to a cool video of real cars crashing against one another. Do go look, if you're so inclined

OK, I tried, but I couldn't work a link to The Other McCain into this post. Maybe next time.....



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