TO THE EDITOR:
Automotive News was correct in calling out the Detroit 3 in its editorial in the Feb. 6 issue ("Detroit 3 should skip scare tactics in CAFE debate") for using scare tactics and squishy jobs research when lobbying the president on fuel economy standards.
But the notion that a drop in the price of gas is reason enough to reopen the midterm review of the standards is misguided. It goes back to one of the three things we can all count on in life: death, taxes and fluctuating gas prices.
It takes five years to design a light-duty vehicle, and they stay on the road for over a decade, so vehicle design needs to look ahead in 15-year increments. Standards cannot flip-flop every time the price of gas changes. Over the past decade, there has clearly been a very strong upward trend in gas prices. If we weaken the standards, automakers will get caught flat-footed, as in the past when prices spiked and consumers shed their gas guzzlers, opting for fuel-sipping foreign brands.
The standards are built specifically to cater to shifting consumer appetites. Right now, crossovers, SUVs and trucks are more appealing -- yes, because of low gas prices. But it also is because their mpg ratings have been steadily increasing thanks to fuel economy targets.
JACK GILLIS, Consumer Federation of America, Washington, The Consumer Federation of America is an association of more than 250 nonprofit consumer groups. The writer also is the author of The Car Book, an annual car-buying guide.