Skip Navigation


April 11, 2018

Federal corporate average fuel economy standards rob consumers of freedom of choice and place them at risk of injury or premature death.

"Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards require manufacturers to meet minimum fuel economy requirements for their fleets of vehicles sold in the U.S. As a result, manufacturers adjust certain vehicle attributes in order to comply with these standards. Among the many vehicle attributes that a manufacturer may adjust are: weight, power, and drivetrain. Such adjustments have consequences for the cost and performance of vehicles, which affects consumers."

The cost of recently proposed CAFE standards according to EPA is ranges from $974 to $1055 with the aggregate costs of new vehicles resulting from implementation of the standards, ranging between  range from $27.5 billion to $39.2 billion. While EPA asserts consumers will save cost from the standards overtime from reduced fuel costs, most drivers don’t purchase vehicles based primarily on fuel economy. Rather they choose vehicle based on a variety of features, including comfort, power, ability to carry large numbers of people or loads. CAFÉ standards rob people of the freedom to choose vehicles based on these other characteristics. In addition, the size and weight reductions  manufacturers make to increase fuel economy makes vehicles less safe for vehicle occupants during accidents.

Julian Morris is executive director of International Policy Network (, a London-based think-tank, and a visiting professor at the University of Buckingham.