Concerning your April 13 editorial, 'Enforce CAFE, but first close CAFE loopholes,' if there is one thing we have learned over the past 20 years, it is that corporate average fuel economy is a terribly flawed program. It has not accomplished the goal of reducing oil imports and has had serious negative effects on the U.S. economy, jobs, highway safety and the American auto industry.
In periods of low gasoline prices, CAFE forces manufacturers to make ridiculous decisions to produce cars and trucks people don't want to buy.
The CAFE credits and allowances are designed to enable automakers to compensate for shifts in the marketplace that can't be accommodated because of industry lead-time constraints.
Your proposal to eliminate flexibility and enforce CAFE year-by-year would force automakers to juggle production and marketing strategies constantly to keep pace with shifts in the marketplace.
Extending passenger-car CAFE to light trucks ignores the differences between those vehicle types - differences that consumers recognize and demand. One-third of light trucks are used for commercial purposes. Farmers buy light trucks for the size, utility and safety they can't get in cars. Requiring large increases in light-truck CAFE would send minivans, sport-utilities and pickups down the same path to extinction as the family station wagon - to the detriment of customers who want and need them.
If Congress truly wanted to improve CAFE, it would eliminate it.
ANDREW H. CARD JR.
President and CEO