President Obama recently received major car guy demerits when he proclaimed that America invented the automobile. Even if you give Obama a mulligan, someone on his staff should have fact-checked the jingoistic assertion—especially after President Kennedy told Germany he was a jelly donut (ein Berliner). But President Obama’s most recent gaffe reveals darker demagoguery, highlighting his Messianic mission to mold motorcars to his green dreams. The AP reports,
Obama, touring a California electric car plant on Thursday, said, ‘The 1908 Model T — think about this — the 1908 Model T earned better gas mileage than the typical SUV in 2008… Think about that: 100 years later, and we’re getting worse gas mileage, not better, on SUVs.’
Ford’s own Web site says the Model T’s mileage ranged from 13 to 21 miles per gallon. Some Tin Lizzie enthusiasts who still drive the vehicles report numbers closer to the bottom end of that range. A typical SUV sold in 2008 gets 18.7 miles per gallon.
Anyone who isn’t trying to bash Detroit (oh, and everyone else who makes the vilified vehicle) understands there’s a world of difference between America’s first mass production automobile and ANY modern SUV. More specifically: Safety. Reliability. Utility. Comfort. Ease of operation. Emissions. Etc.
The meta point: Detroit (oh, and everyone else who makes the vilified vehicle) have been purposefully dragging their heels on mpgs. Consumers, of course, are blameless. As are the feds who allowed the SUV CAFE loophole (they were bribed!).
The “we’d all be driving more more fuel efficient vehicles now if it weren’t for corporate greed” idea is a liberal, anti-Detroit shibboleth that ignores commercial realities and refuses to die. But here’s the thing: Barack’s Boyz are now in control of Chrysler and GM. What’s the bet the Presidential Task Force on Automobiles heard the Prez’s mean meme loud and clear? Guess what happens next . . . .