Planet Gore

Car Buyers Aren’t Buying Obama’s Kool-Aid

Confident in his prediction that Americans want fuel-efficient, small cars as their vehicles of the future, the president has mandated that the vehicle fleet average 35.5 mpg by 2015. (After which year he presumably aims to eliminate the combustion engine entirely, with a 56 mpg-by-2025 mandate that effectively requires we drive hybrid-electric trains.)

But sales figures from August of this year — just one  (four year) product cycle before the 2015 edict goes into effect — indicate that Americans simply are not drinking the Kool-aid. Even as gasoline hovered near $4 a gallon, the average fuel mileage of the top ten vehicles sold last month was just 23 mpg. The top two vehicles, the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado pick-ups, which account for almost 40 percent of total top ten sales, average just 17 mpg. The top two sedans, the Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima averaged 26.

The most fuel efficient car in the bunch, the Chevy Cruze (which is the 5th best-seller), only just makes the current sedan mpg standard of 27 mpg, much less 35.5 which all vehicles — car and truck — must average in 2015.

So how will America’s car manufactures do it? By corrupting the system. By pouring lobbying money into Washington to buy loopholes and tax credits for hybrids and electric technologies that few people buy. All so that, at days’ end, the chairman of Ford Motor Company can issue a press release advertising that his company meets the federal mpg gold standard, even as his best-selling vehicle, by a margin of over 2:1, gets only half of the government requires fuel mileage.

Welcome to dishonest national standards. Welcome to Obama’s America.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

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