Voluntary Measures Don’t Work: Why We Need 45 mpg Cars Now

Okay, so how many of you drove a little less and a little slower this week in response to President Bush’s helpful hints on saving gas? That’s what I thought… So much for voluntary measures. They just don’t work -- just like they didn’t work when the president asked power plant operators to voluntarily reduce their carbon emissions. At least when President Carter suggested we all turn down our thermostats, he was also raising fuel economy standards. If Ronald Reagan hadn’t rolled back those standards, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are now.

George Bush’s half-hearted attempt to persuade Americans to reduce fuel consumption is about as believable as those new ads from ExxonMobile and Chevron telling us “Slow down… Save gas”. The sincerity practically leaps off the page. The Bush White House and the oil companies have always been in synch -- but asking us to slow down by 10 mph is the best they can come up with? Thanks for the suggestion, guys! How about raising the mpg our cars have to get by ten miles per gallon instead? It would reduce our crushing dependence on oil a heck of a lot faster than requesting we ease off the accelerator a bit.

When the World Trade Center towers collapsed, our president asked us to go shopping. When Katrina hit, he asked us to slow down and drive less. Our excessive use of a dwindling resource is creating a national security crisis of monumental proportions. In response, our country needs a leader willing to call for national sacrifice. Americans have always been willing to do what is necessary to help our country be stronger and more secure.

It’s time for President Bush to demand 45 mpg cars from our automakers -- not patronize the American public with meaningless suggestions.