It all sounds so easy: Impose higher average gas mileage standards on the auto industry. Motorists will not only save money, but America will wean itself off oil.
Just one problem. In meeting the new regulations, cars could cost thousands more than buyers would ever save on fuel costs, industry leaders and experts warn.
"The American public should start getting used to paying more," says Joel Ewanick, General Motors' new marketing chief. High-tech cars built for big increases in gas mileage and lower carbon emissions a decade from now "are not going to be cheap."
Never mind. Our betters are sure that their diktats will work out:
Environmentalists and the Obama administration, however, believe automakers will find ways to bring down those costs.
"The auto industry says the sky is going to fall. Not only do costs end up being lower than predicted, but the industry thrives in part as a result of better technology," says David Friedman, research director for the Union of Concerned Scientists.Here's the sad reality for the apparatchiks:
In the end, however, the consumers will decide. If the offerings aren't right, or too expensive, they won't buy.