Ten years ago, the current California governor starred in a movie called End of Days. He played an ex-cop trying to stop Satan from bringing the world to a fiery end. Reviews were mixed.
Now some critics say Arnold Schwarzenegger, as a front man for the California Air Resources Board and a collation of nongovernmental organizations, is playing a lead role in a new tragic drama: End of Automotive Days.
I think the Governator, President Obama et al. stopped short of where they could have gone.
After all, if you're going to dictate what kind of cars Americans must drive, why not go the extra kilometer? Why not make U.S. fuel economy standards align with European standards?
It would mean making the standard for CO2 emissions 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer traveled, which translates to about 47 mpg for gasoline engines and 52 mpg for diesels. By 2012.
Nothing to it.
It's the least we could do in the new American spirit of global sameness and least common denominators. Let's send another powerful signal that we're willing to be just another nation in the global community.
Of course, there will need to be some upward realignment of taxes, etc., to inflate the price of gasoline to, say, $6 a gallon. I'm sure no one will mind. That'll encourage Americans to buy the kinds of cars that Europeans have come to appreciate.
Common standards would make it cheaper and easier for Americans and Europeans to develop and produce vehicles for each other's market. The Chrysler-Fiat hookup would provide immediate dividends. GM's link to factories in South Korea and China would be a huge competitive advantage. Almost overnight, the Ford Ka could replace the F-150 pickup as the best-selling vehicle in America.
Yeah, we should forget the silliness about the End of Automotive Days and get with the program.
We don't want the rest of the world to think of us as Conan the Barbarian, do we?