Failure to improve auto fuel efficiency is short-sighted folly

By TONY COBB, a member of REP’s Board of Directors

AN HISTORICAL DOCUMENT: Letter to the editor of Baltimore Sun, published March 29, 2002


Dan Rodricks hit a home run on the subject of the Senate’s recent folly in stalling higher fuel economy standards (“Senate should have stepped on the gas to OK auto bill,” column, March 18).

SUVs and minivans with higher fuel efficiency are perfectly viable, despite the protests of the automobile industry that higher standards would either deny Americans the right to choose their favorite cars or bankrupt the industry.

Mr. Rodricks has it right: That’s malarkey. In similar fashion, the auto industry has fought seatbelts, air bags and pollution controls in order to protect its profits at the expense of the public good.

We cannot drill our way out of energy dependence by simply increasing domestic supply and guzzling away. Only measures to reduce dependence on oil by increasing efficiency and utilizing alternative energy sources where that is practical will break the cycle of dependence.

Forty percent of oil consumed in America goes to fuel cars and light trucks. Fuel economy is at a 20-year low, and we import more than half the oil we use.