WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Recreation Coalition, concerned over proposals to raise federal corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards, is calling upon the newly-elected 110th Congress, which will take office in 2007, to consider the full implications of such proposals.
“Light trucks are practically the only vehicles on the market that can safely tow outdoor gear for quality family outdoor fun,” the group said in a recent statement, suggesting that higher CAFE standards would put the future of these vehicles in danger.
“In the late 1970s, shortly after federal corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards took effect, nearly 70 percent of domestic passenger car models were capable of towing 2,100 pounds or more, about the size of an average bass fishing boat and trailer,” the group pointed out. “By 1986, because cars had been downsized dramatically to meet ever-increasing CAFE standards, only 20 percent could tow that load. By the mid-1990s, the percentage slipped to 12 percent, and today, only 1 percent of domestic passenger cars can tow 2,100 pounds.”
If the CAFE standards were increased “beyond affordable technological limits,” the group predicts that automakers would be forced to either manufacture smaller and less powerful light trucks or discontinue them altogether, “which would force families currently driving large and mid-size SUVs to drive smaller vehicles unable to support outdoor fun.”
“There are more than 11 million trailerable boats and 5 million trailerable RVs in use across America,” the group concluded. “Millions more Americans tow horses, snowmobiles, ATVs and personal watercraft. To safely tow this equipment to outdoor fun, we need vehicles with adequate towing, braking and visibility characteristics.”
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