Planet Gore

Don’t Drink the CAFE

How convenient for newsmen to be protected by the First Amendment from government intrusion. Unlike, say, the auto industry.

Wall Street Journal lefty auto critic Dan Neil last weekend waxed eloquent about the Buick Regal’s new, CAFE-induced, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-banger — what GM dubs its Ecotec II engine (ugh). To green Neil, it’s the garage equivalent of broccoli and its time the industry started eating more of it. It’s good for them.

“Building these small-displacement, high-pressure turbo engines is tricky. Why not stick a bigger V6 in these cars and be done with it? In one, much-disdained acronym: CAFE,” writes Neil before launching into a full-throated defense of putting a bureaucrat under the hood.

“This is the sort of thing that makes me lonely at car-guy parties: I’m a huge proponent of CAFE. You may say it would be best to let fuel costs and consumer choice drive vehicle efficiency; the problem is that the market is reactive, and engineering of fuel efficiency is a capital-intensive, time-consuming process. CAFE has put more fuel-efficient technologies in the market in time to meet rising fuel prices, not several years behind the curve. “

Easy for him to say. But would Neil be so cavalier if the government was in his grille every day?

How about if the feds imposed a Corporate Average Newsprint Economy (CANE) standard? What if the feds limited the loquacious Journal auto critic to 600 words instead of 1,100? In the name of ink conservation?

Or forced him to “alternative media” to meet the CANE standard? To save forests, how about limiting the WSJ to two sections — with Neil’s “Gears and Gadgets” page available only online? How about forcing the whole paper online to save millions of gallons of delivery-truck fuel?

Would the Journal’s finest be “a huge proponent of” CANE? Perhaps not.

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

Most Popular

Culture

Our Cultural Crisis: A Kirkian Response

Editors’ note: The following article is adapted from a speech the author delivered at the Heritage Foundation on March 14, 2018. Few would dispute that we are in the middle of a grave cultural crisis. A despairing conservative critic wrote: “We are on the road to cultural disaster.” He placed the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

An Enduring Error

Editor’s Note: The following piece originally appeared in City Journal. It is reprinted here with permission. Fifty-one years ago, in July 1967, in response to an explosion of rioting in poor black urban neighborhoods around the United States, President Lyndon B. Johnson created the National Advisory ... Read More
U.S.

Confirm Pompeo

What on earth are the Democrats doing? President Trump has nominated CIA director Mike Pompeo, eminently qualified by any reasonable standard, to be America’s 70th secretary of state. And yet the Senate Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer, have perverted the advice and consent clause of the Constitution into a ... Read More
Culture

The Mournful, Magnificent Sally Mann

‘Does the earth remember?" The infinitely gifted photographer Sally Mann asks this question in the catalogue of her great retrospective at the National Gallery in Washington. On view there is her series of Civil War battlefield landscapes, among the most ravishing works of art from the early 2000s. Once sites ... Read More
U.S.

James Comey’s Inadvertent Admission

The good folks at the Republican National Committee awaken and realize that perhaps former FBI agents make more compelling critics of James Comey than, say, Maxine Waters. Yesterday afternoon brought the first excerpts of James Comey’s new book, A Higher Loyalty, and we were expected to run around in ... Read More