President Obama’s automobile choice shows that he cares about features other than fuel economy, so why is he forcing the American people to choose fuel economy first and foremost?
When President Obama took office, he got a new car—a 8 mile-per-gallon custom Cadillac limousine. The reason the car gets such poor fuel economy is that it is designed to protect the Commander-in-Chief from many threats. The limo’s body is composed of sophisticated titanium, steel, ceramic and aluminum armor to stop projectiles. The armored doors are 8-inches thick and there is a 5-inch thick reinforced steel plate under the car to protect against bombs. The car is equipped with night vision cameras and Obama’s seat features a foldaway desk, laptop, and satellite phone so he can conduct business on the go. Because the car’s armor and accessories weigh so much, the car is powered by a 6.5 liter diesel engine.
President Obama, however, is proposing to limit Americans’ automobile choices and force Americans to buy more fuel economy than they would choose on their own. He is proposing a fuel-economy mandate that cars in 2016 model cars will have to get at least 42 miles per gallon.
Currently there are only three cars that get 35 miles per gallon or better, the Toyota Prius, the Honda Civic hybrid, and the Ford Fusion hybrid. In just over 6 years, automakers need to improve the fuel economy of the entire fleet by 40 percent. This is possible, but it will be costly, limit American’s car choice, and it will be deadly.
A 2002 study from the National Research Council found that the federal government’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy mandate contributed to 2,000 deaths per year. The reason for this death tool is that frequently there is a tradeoff between the size of a car and safety. Cars have become safer, but today’s small, fuel efficient cars are still more dangerous than other cars in two-car frontal offset collisions, even again medium sized cars.
President Obama didn’t have to choose between safety and fuel economy when it came to his limo. He shouldn’t force the American people to be forced to choose smaller, more fuel efficient and less-safe cars.