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Argument: Fuel economy standards do not put drivers at greater risk

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Jen Dunnaway. "Latest Loony Argument Against CAFE Standards: High-MPG Cars Kill People". Car Domain Blog. 26 Mar. 2008 - Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist is the latest to join the crowd of professional tantrummers who oppose the raising of fuel mileage standards to 35 mpg by 2012. On Saturday, the Republican lobbyist claimed that requiring the automakers to eke up their mpg ratings was tantamount to murdering consumers—by forcing them into smaller cars, putting them at greater risk during collisions. His argument is based on one 2002 study that explored the effects of the diminishing body size of cars in the 70's. In addition to simplistically generalizing the results of that report to the new generation of compact cars, his position also ignores a lot of key realities about crashes, including the illusion of safety experienced by drivers of big vehicles, their greater likelihood of single-vehicle accidents and rollovers, and the tendency of large rides to transfer more energy to the bodies of occupants during a crash, resulting in worse injuries. As well as being steeped in ignorance, Norquist's argument also implicitly promotes one of the more dastardly secret motives of SUV and truck buyers: the one that goes, "I'm going to drive a big vehicle so that when I crash into someone, my ride will hurt the other driver but protect me." Ugh.

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