For some time, critics of government regulation have contended that it is dangerous for the automobile industry to produce lighter vehicles. Lighter vehicles will be unsafe, they say.
An impetus for that viewpoint was a 2002 National Research Council report, "Fuel Economy and Safety." It claimed that historical data showed that heavier vehicles were safer than lighter ones.
The most visible critic has been The Wall Street Journal editorial page. A Sept. 14 editorial, "No blood for oil," implied that 2,000 more people would be killed every year if increased corporate average fuel economy standards were applied (by 2010). That would force the auto manufacturers to lighten their cars and trucks, making them less safe.
This dogmatic line irritated me, so I sent a letter to the editor contesting that point.