Pistonheads' Presidential Primer Part Two

pistonheads presidential primer part two

They want your vote, but they drive you crazy. More specifically, passionate posting pistonheads don’t seem well pleased with America’s current crop of presidential aspirants. Part One of this series examined four presidential candidates’ websites to winkle out their auto-related policies on issues ranging from Corporate Average Fuel Economy to E85 to “oil addiction” and, uh, back. Judging from your comments on Hillary, Barack, Rudy and Mitt’s plans, you were about as impressed as pyromaniacs at a swim meet. So, in that spirit of world-weary cynical analysis, let’s have a look at what Fred, Mike, John and Bill have to say about all things automotive.

Fred Thompson is the son of what he calls a “little educated” used car dealer. If that doesn’t raise any alarm bells, Fred’s also an attorney, Red October hunter, fictional prosecutor and former US Senator (for real) from the great state of Tennessee.

An “Issues” page on Thompson’s site includes an “ Energy Security” section. Within, Thompson declares that our “dependence on foreign sources of oil threatens our national security and puts our economic prosperity at risk.” He offers the usual list of tasks required to overcome our “oil addiction:” increase domestic oil supplies, invest in alt. fuels, etc.

In an August press release titled “The Gas Tax,” Senator Thompson mentions the tragic highway bridge collapse in Minneapolis MN and adds: “Whoa now. Let’s hold our horses and think about calls for new [federal] tax increases to fix our infrastructure problems…we can’t let it [the bridge collapse] be used to compound other problems— which is what will happen if we’re scared into raising gas taxes.”

Senator Thompson says local governments, not the feds, should deal with such issues. “Why can’t we leave infrastructure issues to the people closest to where the rubber literally hits the road?” (Geddit?) Policy stands regarding cars, US automakers or specifics on energy issues? No comment.

The former Governor of Arkansas known as Mike Huckabee also has an Issues page. In his “Energy Independence” sub-page, the Gov says “The first thing I will do as President is send Congress my comprehensive plan for energy independence. We will achieve energy independence by the end of my second term.” Two terms and we’re free! How’s that then?

“We have to explore, we have to conserve, and we have to pursue all avenues of alternative energy: nuclear, wind, solar, hydrogen, clean coal, biodiesel, and biomass (ethanol subsidies are go).” Huckabee will “set aside a federal research and development budget” that would be “matched by the private sector” to find new energy such as alternative fuels. And then… “Our free market will sort out what makes the most sense economically and will reward consumer preferences.”

John Edwards is the infamously mansion-dwelling former US Senator from North Carolina. His “ Issues – A New Energy Economy” page sings a familiar tune: “Our generation must be the one that says 'yes' to alternative, renewable fuels and ends forever our dependence on foreign oil.”

Senator Edwards would create a “New Energy Economy Fund” to support R&D, invest in efficient automobile technology and help Americans conserve. He’d also “repeal subsidies to big oil companies and require oil companies to install biofuel pumps at 25 percent of their gas stations.” Senator Edwards would require all new cars sold after 2010 to be ‘flex fuel’ cars.

While in Iowa, Senator Edwards praised “biofuels innovators” and announced he’d “accelerate the use of biofuels on America’s roads and highways…” That’s cause he “believes that everyone should be able to drive the car, truck or SUV of their choice and still enjoy high fuel economy.” To that end, Edwards would raise federal fuel economy standards to 40 mpg by 2016.

Bill Richardson is a former Congressman, US Ambassador to the United Nations (under Bill Clinton) and the current Governor of New Mexico. His Issues / Energy page calls for a “New American Revolution– an energy and climate revolution.” His vision would see oil imports reduced “from around 65 percent to 10 or 15 percent.”

Governor Richardson says “getting the 100 mile per gallon (mpg) car into the marketplace” is key, and hey, why not double current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards to “50 mpg by 2020?"

While he’s at it, Richardson would also like to see renewable energy resources increase to 50 percent by 2040: “This is aggressive, but necessary as we start using more electricity for automobiles.” To help pay the bills, he’d raise “some revenue from the sales of carbon permits” and “get out the ‘green scissors’ to cut back on wrongly-placed tax subsidies.”

Richardson would like to see the US become “energy independent and combat global warming” because— yes, you guessed it– our “national security and our planet depend on it.” Seems like a theme, or, if you prefer, just another par-for-the-course sop to environmentalists and consumers fearing higher gas prices and foreign entanglements.

Click here to go to Part One

Click here to to to Part Three

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2 of 30 comments
  • Tankd0g Tankd0g on Dec 08, 2007

    That sort of proves my point, I was thinking $110 a barrel oil in 5 years would be cheap, not going back down to $60 which will never happen. If someone had said to me 5 years ago that oil would go that high in 10 years and we could still function normally in the western world I would have laughed at them. If fact we'll probably still be buying 30mpg cars when it hits $150 as long as the price creeps up slowly enough.

  • DearS DearS on Dec 08, 2007

    I do not believe I or anyone is necessarily Oil "dependent". I am "reliant" on oil. I rely not depend on oil. "Depend" I think sounds to much like a victim statement. I think its usually used as such when I hear it. As oil prices vary, what do I need to do to be happy to the best of my ability? Worry? usually not. Life is a challenge and also an adventure. I need to continue progressing to accept that I cannot control life or others as I understand them to be. I cannot control the future and I'm better doing what I think I can do for the time being to prepare for what I believe may be possible outcomes. Also try not to figure everything out ie. have faith.

  • Islander800 That is the best 20-year-on update of the Honda Element that I've ever seen. Strip out the extraneous modern electronic crap that adds tens of thousands to the price and the completely unnecessary 400 pd/ft torque and horse power, and you have a 2022 Honda Element - right down to the neoprene interior "elements" of the Element - minus the very useful rear-hinged rear doors. The proportions and dimensions are identical.Call me biased, but I still drive my west coast 2004 Element, at 65K miles. Properly maintained, it will last another 20 years....Great job, Range Rover!
  • Dennis Howerton Nice article, Corey. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.