LLR Pages

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Chrysler's Bob Nardelli: 'High Gas Prices Are Needed to Sell Fuel-Efficient Cars'

Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli went on record today with the Detroit Free Press, saying that Clinton and McCain's push to suspend the 18.4 cents federal excise gasoline tax is wrongheaded. Why? Because, as Nardelli, in a misguided fashion, believes, high energy prices are needed to sell fuel-efficient cars.

The Free Press interview began with and reported the following:

Automotive industry leaders have begun to speak out firmly against a proposal, being promoted by senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton, to suspend the 18.4 cents a gallon federal excise tax on gasoline.

The U.S. presidential hopefuls say it will ease the financial pain for Americans paying nearly $4 a gallon for regular gas, on top of an economy ravaged by a housing and credit crisis, and mounting food prices.

But Chrysler LLC CEO Bob Nardelli, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson and others say that the nation needs the high gas prices to encourage consumers to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles — which the federal government has mandated automakers build — as well as make other decisions that are responsible for the world at large.

'You have to have alignment,' Jim Press, the former Toyota Motor Corp. executive who now serves as a Chrysler president and vice chairman, said during a meeting this morning among Chrysler’s top leaders and Free Press writers and editors.

A day earlier, Jackson, the nation’s largest dealer with 321 dealerships and a longtime critic of the nation’s deficient energy policy, told the Free Press that suspending the gas tax demonstrated 'zero intellectual honesty' and gave Americans 'confusing signals' about energy consumption.

While I'm for relieving American drivers of regressive gasoline taxes (I'm more for repealing the gasoline taxes, but that's another story for another day), I think "suspending" the federal gasoline tax is just a shell game. How about repealing the government's involvement in the energy sector as well as the entire private sector? How about repealing all sorts of taxes, regulations, and unconstitutional spending that have helped kill this economy?

As for Nardelli, he's opposed to suspending this gas tax because it subsidizes the production, distribution, and sale of the "fuel-efficient" vehicles that are not as popular to the American public as they are made out to be. After all, since most Americans are not buying "fuel efficient" cars, what does that say to Nardelli and his precious "fuel efficient" automotive line (which happens to be hybrids, which are a rip-off anyway)?

The marriage between the automotive companies and state is a bizarre one, and it's one that needs a divorce sooner rather than later.