It’s the Fuel Economy, Stupid

Classic examples of ‘Michigan Democrats,’ Senator Carl Levin and
Governor Jennifer Granholm from the critical Midwestern swing state
are urging John Kerry to scale back his ambitious plans to boost
Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. As Amanda Griscom
of Grist Magazine puts it, the man now firmly behind the wheel of
the Democratic Party hopes to improve fuel efficiency standards ‘or
else the U.S. auto industry will soon be losing jobs to the
Japanese and European manufacturers leading the global race to
develop fuel-efficient cars.’

But Levin is concerned that tightening CAFE standards will cost
jobs in the motor state. ‘The senator from Massachusetts … is
simply wrong,’ he protests. ‘Granholm and Levin emphasize tax
incentives as a good way to spur development and sales of more
efficient vehicles,’ Griscom writes. Furthermore, the Bush team is
suffocating voters with the fact that Kerry voted for a gas
tax-hike in 1993. The president’s campaign team has pounced on the
issue, running television attack ads in 18 states: ‘Some people
have wacky ideas, like taxing gasoline more so people drive less.
That’s John Kerry,’ says the voiceover.

Yes Griscom points out that the issue of fuel efficiency vs.
jobs is not as black-and-white as the Bush camp portrays it to
be-not even in Michigan, whose electoral votes went to Gore in 2000
but could slide either way in November. ‘The Sierra Club
commissioned a poll of 650 likely voters in Michigan in 2002 and
found that a surprising 77 percent supported ramping up CAFE
standards to 40 mpg over 10 years,’ she writes. ‘And of 150 United
Auto Workers households polled, a whopping 84 percent supported
such standards.’
Jacob Wheeler

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the Fuel Economy, Stupid

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