Hey! Congress! Leave Those Cars Alone!
Yes, well, it's a bit a late to be singing that refrain, what with the new Energy Bill slapping a 35 by 2020 bumper sticker on every legislator and carmaker's ass. Still, as Shakespeare once said, there's many a slip between the cup and the lip; substitute "loopholes" and "federal court cases" for "slip" and you've got a pretty clear picture of what lies ahead. Meanwhile, conservative thinkers have suddenly woken from their torpor to explain why the new federal fuel economy regulations (such as they aren't) aren't such a good idea. Cato Institute senior [good] fellows Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren attack the underlying principle that automobile manufacturers are fuel economy foot draggers. "Automakers… would hardly be more ignorant than the casual observers at the Sierra Club and Rep. Nancy Pelosi's office about how much money they're leaving on the table. Suffice it to say this argument suggests that consumers are indeed getting exactly the kind of cars that they want." They also point out that consumers have valid priorities– which don't jibe with global warming crusaders. "They don't like the fact that many consumers seem to like other attributes — such as vehicle size and acceleration — that mitigate against fuel economy." After suggesting that a fuel tax would be the best way to correct so-called "market failures," Taylor and Van Doren put the [stillborn] fuel economy debate to bed. "For many, however, there is no such thing as too much energy conservation, and society always gains the less we consume. But if that were true, why not just ban cars from the road altogether?" Where were you guys six months ago?