Fuel-Efficiency Standards May Threaten Safety
Experts say tight rules could push automakers to make smaller cars
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 20, 2009 12:53 PM CDT
Cars give off exhaust fumes in Montpelier, Vt., Jan. 26, 2009.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – President Obama’s new vehicle fuel-efficiency rules have safety experts worried that automakers will comply by churning out smaller, lighter cars—the more likely to kill you with, USA Today reports. Smaller vehicles are an easy route to boost efficiency that can also mean thousands more crash fatalities, but administration deadlines “are so tight that downsizing will be a tempting compliance strategy,” says a former US regulator.

But for the Obama administration, the rules don't mean forcing pint-size cars on an unwilling market. "Because every (size) category has to get more efficient, if the soccer mom wants to buy her minivan, it will be a more fuel-efficient minivan. If someone wants to buy a big SUV, it will be a more fuel-efficient SUV," says a White House staffer.