American automakers are fighting hard to stop a Senate bill that proposes a 40% increase in automobile fuel economy within thirteen years, by the year 2020. Instead of fighting to maintain their inefficient ways and continually losing market share to foreign car makers, why isn’t the American automobile industry challenging itself and foreign automakers to develop the most fuel efficient and safe automobiles?
Why this “can’t do” attitude from the American auto industry? They do everything they can from lobbying, to threats, to propaganda to fight progressive fuel economy and safety legislation. Why does the American auto industry have to be mandated by laws to do the right thing when it comes to auto safety and efficiency? Their political and lobbying power is so great; they pressure our elected representatives into mediocrity and make them back down from doing what is in the country’s best interest?
Do you see the European and Japanese automakers fighting against fuel economy and safety regulations? The foreign automakers seem to be developing safer, smarter and more efficient cars without government regulations. Is it possible that the American’s “can’t do” attitude is what has gotten them into their poor economic performance of late and has lost them major portions of the American automobile market?
President John F. Kennedy, in a speech to a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961 said, “Now it is time to take longer strides–time for a great new American enterprise–time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on earth.”
President Kennedy committed the United States to achieve, before the decade was out, “… landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”
America focused its energies, resources and talents to accomplish a mission that many thought impossible. At the time would it have seemed easier to increase auto fuel efficiency five times than to land a man on the moon? If we marshaled our energies, resources and talents and focused them on developing inexpensive and safe 100 mile per gallon vehicles, could we do it in the same time it took us to get to the moon? I think so.
The technology that came from our moon quest served the United States well for decades thereafter. Those technologies gave American industry great advantages over our foreign competitors. Wouldn’t the technologies developed in producing 100 mile per gallon vehicles do the same for American’s industrial base now? There would be vast peridium shifts in technology that would change our lives and preserve our environment for eons of time.
Isn’t it time, as President Kennedy said “…to take longer strides – time for a great new American enterprise – time for this nation to take a clearly leading role…”, this time in energy efficiency for the betterment of our nation and mankind as a whole?
Isn’t it time for the American auto industry to see the writing on the wall and become world innovators instead of whiners and bullies?
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