Sen. Richard Bryan (D–Nev.) has introduced legislation that would force automakers to raise the average fuel efficiency in their fleets from the current 27.5 miles per gallon to 34 mpg by 1996 and 40 mpg by 2001. But the current standards have already increased traffic deaths by forcing carmakers to build smaller, less safe vehicles. Competitive Enterprise Institute President Fred L. Smith estimates that in a 10-year period, fuel standards cause 35,000 to 67,000 additional traffic deaths nationally. Bryan's bill would more than double the number of fuel efficiency-related deaths.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Fuelish Policy".