To the Editor:
I was somewhat disturbed by a comment by Edward Lapham in the Oct. 15 issue ("Even Toyota likes to make money").
He wrote, "We must find the right way to shape consumer purchases," and he went on to suggest higher government-imposed mileage standards and increased gasoline taxes.
That suggestion indicates that Lapham believes automobile purchasers cannot make intelligent choices on their own and, therefore, need guidance from those more intelligent, apparently including himself.
Government-imposed mileage standards and higher taxes should be opposed by anyone who values a free market economy. The government should neither provide tax incentives for energy production nor tax its consumption, yet our government does both.
Without intervention, energy prices would reflect supply and demand conditions, and in the long run increasing prices would allow oil production from currently uneconomic reserves.
Increasing prices would also inevitably change consumer preferences about fuel economy and alternative fuel sources as well.
All of these things will happen naturally in a free market economy without any governmental manipulation.
Fortunately, Toyota's recent sales results (more Tundras than Priuses) indicate that consumers still are capable of making their own choices.
The automotive industry must continue to offer the wide range of choices while understanding that energy markets are changing.
I believe that the industry and consumers are both headed in the correct direction and do not need any help from Lapham or the government to get there.