It’s hard to convince most Americans that there is a silver lining to $4-a-gallon gasoline. But General Motors provided a nugget of good news when it announced that it would shutter much of its production of pickups and sport utility vehicles – and might even get rid of the Hummer, the relative of the Abrams tank unleashed on the streets in the cheap-gas days of the 1990s.
Yes, a “nugget of good news.” Because when a company is forced to stop making its most profitable product, that must help the company in the long run.
Not a problem for the editors, however…just make smaller cars:
Its full-size pickup plant in Cuautitlán, Mexico, is expected to be used to produce the Ford Fiesta, a subcompact car, instead.
Too bad you don’t just flick a switch when changing your production facilities. The editors of the Times neglect to tell readers just how much this costs. From the Detroit Free Press:
“We’re committed to honoring the commitments we made to the UAW,” said [Ford VP Joe] Hinrichs, whose remarks came on the same day Ford announced a $3-billion investment in Mexican facilities, creating 4,500 jobs there.
Back to the good news from the Times:
Still, Americans’ response to rising gasoline prices makes an excellent case for a gas tax. It proves that drivers will change their behavior in response to high fuel prices. And even if Detroit doesn’t buy global warming, drivers can help persuade it to embrace fuel efficiency. They don’t even have to know that the Honda Civic emits less than half the 13 tons of greenhouse gases spewed by the Ford F-150.
Hmmm. How many more tons of CO2 are released by producing the New York Times in print rather than just digitally? Maybe we need to tax newsprint to alter consumer behavior away from forest-killing broadsheets. . . .