22
Sep
2005

The paradox of fuel efficiency

Boston Globe
by Jeff Jacoby

09/21/05

It didn't take Hurricane Katrina to move the issue of fuel efficiency into the spotlight. For decades, automakers have been urged to produce, consumers have been urged to drive, and the government has been urged to mandate more fuel-efficient cars. If the vehicles on our roads got more miles to the gallon, we have been told again and again, we could dramatically reduce the amount of oil we depend on -- and from that would flow benefits equally dramatic: America's foreign policy would be strengthened, it is said, since we would no longer have to appease the unsavory regimes that control most of the world's crude oil. ... And at a time of $3-a-gallon gasoline, motorists would have particular reason to rejoice: Higher-mileage cars would need fewer expensive fill-ups. ... All of which might be worth considering if using fuel more efficiently really would result in less fuel being used. But it won't. It will result in more fuel being used...

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Informant: Thomas L. Knapp
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