To the Editor:
Regarding Keith Crain's Sept. 6 column on government labels, "Another dumb idea from Washington": I am a retired auto dealer. I had five dealerships in the Washington market selling mostly luxury and sport vehicles.
In my 50 years in the industry, I worked closely with the National Automobile Dealers Association and the American International Automobile Dealers Association on industry and government relations and recognize the tendency toward knee-jerk negative reactions to change.
We are in a period of crisis in regard to our need to spend so much of our financial resources importing oil and fuel products.
The buying public has a short memory on fuel pricing and will switch to higher-mpg vehicles when gasoline prices escalate but slip back quickly to other purchase criteria when fuel prices drop.
No administration or Congress has had the nerve to put a stiff federal tax on fuel. The revenues could provide badly needed funds for infrastructure repairs, and the increased fuel pump price would make consumers more conscious of miles per gallon.
It would be good for the public to be aware of the relative value of higher-mpg vehicles and the relative overall cost to themselves and the country of vehicles that use more energy.
There is an opportunity for the industry and the associations to work with government to provide more information, which in the long run may increase demand for higher-mpg vehicles and penalize manufacturers that don't respond quickly enough in improving mpg across the board.
Automotive News should get the ball rolling for such a collaborative effort.
It is not enough now to criticize; it is time to work together to create tools that will get us closer to self-sustaining energy consumption.