Detroit: Tow Ridiculous

Fuel-economy standards are a good idea because they prevent automobile manufacturers from gaming the system. If everybody is forced to make fuel-efficient cars, there’s a level playing field; if it’s left up to market forces, then everybody tends to wait for everybody else to move first, because there’s good money to be made being the last manufacturer of cheap and inefficient autos.

Today, when it’s clear that better fuel economy is the only way for the auto industry to survive, one would think that opposition to fuel-economy standards would have abated. But, of course, no. Detroit’s latest bright idea is that fuel economy is all well and good, so long as you don’t intend to tow anything:

Ford Motor Co. and other auto makers are lobbying the Bush administration to scale back a proposal to boost automobile fuel-economy standards. The aim is for milder fuel-economy standards for vehicles with extra towing capacity.

This would actually be funny if it weren’t so pathetic. Just like the "light truck" loophole gave rise to the SUV, if implemented this loophole will inevitably result in sportscars with a towing gadget at the back which never gets used. Come on, Detroit! Embrace the inevitable! Or do you like losing billions of dollars every quarter and watching the Japanese eat your lunch?

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