There wasn't much applause or cheering when the Bush administration announced its new fuel economy rules, which will require minivans, pickups and SUVs to get better fuel economy.
About the only people in the mood to do high-fives and cartwheels were suppliers. But they didn't start dancing in the street because that would have been unseemly.
Still, a lot of suppliers ought to do quite well because automakers need them to provide solutions. Think electronics, technology and weight reduction, which could include darned near everybody.
The ones that bring something to the table ought to be handsomely rewarded.
Automakers stoically said they would do what was needed to comply with the complicated new requirements. Their reaction was restrained. You couldn't quite detect the inaudible sigh of relief because their biggest pickups -- which still are considered work trucks -- weren't included in the new rules.
Environmentalists wanted more from the administration. Some grumbled that because of the way the rules work, they actually might encourage automakers to build more of the larger, less fuel-efficient trucks as a way to game the system.
But rising gasoline prices encourage consumers to turn their backs on humongous SUVs, at least the consumers who don't really need the biggest trucks to haul the church choir or tow the Airstream.
Building more big trucks than an automaker can easily sell would mean using fat incentives to move the iron. It would be stupid to do that just to beat the spirit of the rules.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at [email protected]