By Dan Shapley
Advanced technology could allow car makers to build cars that are not only efficient but small and, yes, safe. One of the dominant arguments against increased fuel economy has been, for years, that small cars -- to put it bluntly -- get creamed on the freeway in accidents. That's no good for drivers, and the answer in the minds of many auto makers, suburban moms and others has been to build bigger SUVs that might hold up in a war zone, let alone a cul-de-sac. (Forget for a minute that the mismatch between a "light truck" and a sub-compact is part of the reason the small car scores poorly on safety tests.) So if this report is right -- and accepted by not only car manufacturers but the car-buying public -- then it could be a watershed in the movement to improve fuel economy. And that's a goal that Americans have long supported, and that many now in Congress and most presidential candidates seem to be adopting, according to a story in the June 7 USA Today.