Motor Vehicle Fuel Efficiency

Trump, Wheeler and Chao Mislead America on Fuel Efficiency and Auto Safety

The Government’s Own Data Proves that More Fuel Efficient Cars are Also Safer

Washington, D.C. — In response to the administration’s proposal to roll back money-saving fuel efficiency standards, the Consumer Federation of America is releasing new data based on government crash tests showing that today’s lighter weighted, more fuel efficient, vehicles are also safer.

“The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration’s own crash test results provide unequivocal evidence that as fuel efficiency has improved, so has crash safety,” said CFA Executive Director Jack Gillis. “The Trump Administration basing its rollback on safety is flat-out wrong and completely ignores the facts that they, themselves, have produced.”

When CFA looked at all 19 of the new 2018 models, which NHTSA crash tested and had a crash test for the previous model, we found that 14 models weighed less and had better fuel efficiency than the previously crash tested vehicles. Of those lighter vehicles, NHTSA gave 8 of the fourteen the exact same crash test rating as the previous version and 6 more actually received better crash test ratings.

“This clearly indicates that when increasing fuel economy, safety is not jeopardized and can actually increase,” said Gillis who is also author of The Car Book from the Center for Auto Safety. “In fact, today’s new cars which are meeting common sense efficiency standards, are the safest, cleanest, most fuel efficient vehicles American consumers have ever known.”

Reducing Weight and Improving MPGs Does Not Degrade Safety

The Ford F-150 decreased its weight by 12.3 percent, increased its fuel economy by almost 6 percent, and the government IMPROVED its crash test rating from 4 to 5 stars.

The Mazda CX-9 decreased its weight by 6 percent, increased its fuel economy by over 21 percent, and the government IMPROVED its crash test rating from 4 to 5 stars.

The Nissan Maxima decreased its weight, increased its fuel economy by over 13 percent, and the government IMPROVED its crash test rating from 4 to 5 stars.

The Ford Expedition decreased its weight, increased its fuel economy by over 26 percent, and the government IMPROVED its crash test rating from 4 to 5 stars.

“It is profoundly disturbing that NHTSA has spent millions of tax dollars on crash tests showing that better fuel efficiency has zero impact on safety only to have the Trump Administration ignore its own data and tries to use “safety” to justify a rollback,” said Gillis.

“To play the safety card as they roll back these standards is the height of hypocrisy,” Gillis pointed out. As reported by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, NHTSA has at least 10 critical, overdue Congressionally mandated safety regulations stagnating because of agency inaction. Gillis continued, “If the agency was genuinely concerned about safety, it would focus its attention on protecting children, transportation workers and millions of others who use our streets and vehicles rather than protecting the oil industry by rolling back reasonable, achievable and money-saving standards.”

NOTE: Elsewhere today, the Consumer Federation of America released a related report showing that the number of safety features available in today’s more fuel efficient cars has significantly increased as their fuel efficiency increased.  This, again, debunks the Trump Administration’s claim that increased fuel efficiency means sacrificing safety—it simply is not true.

Contact: Jack Gillis, 202-939-1018; Christina Heartquist, 415-453-0430