We cut back on our Chicago Tribune subscription a couple of months ago, and I'm glad to save the money. Even more, though, I'm glad I get to avoid the incredibly poor logic it puts on its editorial page, including this gem from today's "All gassed up in the Senate." As an exercise to get blogging again, though, it will suffice.
History suggests that CAFE standards haven't done much to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. CAFE standards were imposed 32 years ago, when the U.S. imported 35 percent of its oil. Since then, oil imports have nearly doubled. Higher fuel economy makes it cheaper to drive, which encourages Americans to drive more, not less. Higher gas prices, on the other hand, have an immediate pocketbook impact.
Now, perhaps it is politically dishonest to force car companies to increase fuel efficiency, rather than just taxing customers directly. But, the paragraph above has massive logic gaps that anyone taking the LSAT or GMAT could walk right through:
1) CAFE standards were introduced 32 years ago. Since then, oil imports have doubled. Can we think of any other causes for oil imports doubling? Say, the population increasing by 100 milion?
2) The editorial claims that forcing car companies to make more fuel-efficient cars would increase the sticker price on those cars. But, at the same time, "Higher fuel economy makes it cheaper to drive, which encourages Americans to drive more, not less." So which is it?