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Fuel Economy Vs Car Safety


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Will future designs of vehicles focused on Fuel Economy decrease the amount of R&D on maintaining and/or increasing Car Safety Ratings?

Everyone knows that more fuel efficient cars are on the minds of auto manufacturers around the globe as car makers scramble to meet consumer demand. The extent of the Oil bubble has prompted many to re-evaluate their transportation choices, especially in the US.

It has become very noticeable that many cars traveling the roadways are smaller, more compact and lighter as consumers react to the pressures of Gas prices. The large Trucks, SUVs and Multi-passenger vehicles are giving way to Hybrids, 2 seaters and even Motorcycles.

The question we ask within this article is “Will the future focus of Fuel Economy decrease the focus on Car Safety"? Although most people applaud the redirection of car buyers to dump their heavy behemoths for their lighter counterparts, It will be interesting to see if the amount of fatalities from car accidents increase in the future.

If so, will this be due to the materials used in manufacturing lighter cars, or to the amount of R&D dollars being diverted away from Safety engineering to focus on Alternate fuel technologies?

The National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration reported in August 2008 that the number of traffic deaths in 2007 was the lowest in 13 years. With Millions of cars on the road today, Car Safety Rating will be paramount to continuing the downward trends of traffic fatalities.

Furthermore, the injuries from traffic accidents declined almost 4% from 2006 statistics. They also reported that the number of people injured in crashes went below 2.5 million for the first time since beginning to collect this data 20 years ago.

With the current financial state of the US Car Makers being limited to scaling back to survival mode, how much will this effect car designs in the coming years. Will consumers pay an even higher toll in the future by sacrificing life and limb to save at the gas pump?

It is important to keep our eyes on the factors that car companies use in developing fuel efficient transportation and how those decisions may effect the safety ratings of those vehicles.

M. Inman

Car Safety Rating


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