Sometimes, a little suggestion goes a long, long way. Speaking at the SAE World Congress in Detroit today, Bob Lutz took a proposal from the conference organizers to frame his speech around the idea that he was king of the auto industry for a week and ran with it. He said he’d need to rule over the entire US to get his ideas enacted, oh, and be an all-encompassing emperor instead of a mere king. In other words, Maximum Bob remains as big as ever, attacking the “religion” of climate change, pointing out why diesel doesn’t make sense in the US and explaining why raising the national gas tax just makes sense.
“Reducing fuel consumption by forcing automakers to sell smaller vehicles is like fighting obesity by forcing clothing manufacturer to sell only small sizes.”
Let’s start with climate change, where Emperor Bob said, “I would insist on giving equal time to the growing scientific body that is not convinced that climate change is man-made and I would say, just leave room for honest debate. That’s what this emperor would decree.”
Once the “honest debate” starts, “This emperor would ask that the laws of common sense be applied. And in this case, the laws of common sense simply dictate – always has – that if you want someone to use less of a given commodity, you raise the price of that commodity. How hard is that for anyone to grasp? With all this complicated CAFE and CO2 legislation, we’re attacking the problem from the wrong end of the pump when we dictate that automakers make vehicles that go farther and farther on a gallon is wrong. What happens in the real world, as will always be the case, is people don’t buy smaller, more efficient vehicles and pocket the extra cash. People will continue to buy larger vehicles and spend the same amount of money on fuel because, mentally, they’ve got a sort of finite fuel budget and they think it’s a good deal.”
After all, he said, “Reducing fuel consumption by forcing automakers to sell smaller and more frugal vehicles is like fighting the nation’s obesity epidemic by forcing clothing manufacturer to sell only small sizes. If you want less obesity, then what you would do is you would raise the price of fatty foods.”