We’re goin’ to court.
Six large automakers are hoping they’ve found a judge in Burlington, Vt. who is stupid enough to believ– excuse us, we mean open to the argument that– cleaner cars will result in a) filthy awful air, b) no more new cars anymore, ever, and c) everyone you loved in your whole life dying needlessly on hellish highways of woe.
Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, said Emerson, and the auto industry’s stance on efficiency has been remarkably consistent — despite being debunked several times over:
- Catalytic converters were going to kill the auto industry.
- Padded dashboards were going to kill the industry.
- The original CAFE standards were going to absolutely crush the industry — crush, I say, crush the industry.
Apparently the iconic juggernaut of America’s manufacturing might has always been just a teensy regulatory nudge away from flattening like a house of cards on a windy day. But it’s been nudged many times now, and it never fell. Instead, its woes, when they’ve come, have been far more related to greed for profits driving low quality (in the 70’s) or over-reliance on high-profit-margin gas guzzlers despite a volatile oil market (2003-2006).
In both of those cases, the Japanese automakers were there, with more reliable, more efficient vehicles, ready to snap up market share and customers. In both cases, demand for what they offered was so strong that dealerships could slap premiums on top of the sticker price.
And yet we are hearing once again that requiring lower tailpipe emissions (which effectively means requiring better MPG) will gut the industry. Doesn’t anyone see the disconnect from reality here? The demand, especially in a $3-gallon world where most driving is necessary, not discretionary, is for efficient vehicles.
Why does the auto industry persist in an already-disproven argument?