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A Letter to Senator Bryan Regarding Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency

March 15, 1991

Richard H. Bryan
United States Senator
Washington, DC 20510

re: Fuel Efficiency

Greetings Senator Bryan:

I know of your efforts in the Congress to increase the CAFE standards. Here are some factors which should be brought into the next round of debate.

Safety is not necessarily compromised while improving fuel efficiency:

High-tech materials and alloys make significant differences in component weight while not making the body less solid.

The severity of an impact is dependent upon the weight of the object. As the average vehicle become lighter, the severity of the average accident will decrease.

The internal combustion engine is highly inefficient, but there are engines with completely different physical properties. Engine technology has taken, and can take more, great steps forward. See enclosed articles.

Your position on the Subcommittee on Urban Affairs provides you the ability to shape the Surface Transportation Assistance act. The following are some major points:

  1. Cut roadway expansion funds. Roadway expansion to relieve congestion leads to an overall increase in fuel consumption. Americans don't love their cars, they love mobility.

  2. Provide substantial sums for Amtrak. Railroads used to pay for themselves and turn hefty profits -- until we subsidized roads. Now Amtrak needs our support.

  3. Increase mass transit operating expenditures. Increase the Federal share and overall spending levels for transit capital programs.

Another measure which would do our nation well is increasing the use of bicycles by Federal agencies -- the most efficient mode of transportation. GSA should have bicycles as part of their vehicle pool. Include bicycle parking in all Federal buildings.

The topic of energy policy, like most subjects, has many facets. These facets touch on everyone's life. Unlike our current policy which provides only benefits to some people, implementing the strategies outlined above will create a policy which provides benefits to all people. I would like to know of your level of interest in each of these tactics.


Dan Convissor

"Free-piston engine" [Popular Science, June 1980, p 50.]

"Stirling auto engine" [Popular Science, January 1983, p 50.]

"Anti-Noise System..." [I can't find the citation for this particular article, but a similar one appeared since then: "Keeping It to a Low Roar," The New York Times 27 July 1993, p B1.]

excerpt from Looking for Oil in all the Wrong Places

Comments on the Surface Transportation Assistance Act

Senator Bryan's reply is also on line

Up to the CAFE Page


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Last updated: 4 April 1999