May 11, 2007

THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE fact-checks Barack Obama on fuel economy and finds some major errors:

Obama this week flew to Detroit to deliver his message that the U.S. auto industry is the villain for “investing in bigger and faster cars while foreign competitors invested in more fuel-efficient technology.”

The domestics certainly haven’t flooded showrooms with gas/electric hybrids like the Japanese. But in fairness, the newest Japanese assembly plant in the U.S. produces 14-m.p.g. Toyota Tundra pickups, not Prius hybrids rated at 60 m.p.g.

“While our fuel standards haven’t moved from 27.5 miles per gallon in two decades, both China and Japan have surpassed us, with Japanese cars now getting an average of 45 miles to the gallon,” Obama said.

“I’m not sure where he got that figure,” Toyota spokesman Mike Michels said. “No carmaker gets 45 m.p.g. Ours is closer to 30 m.p.g.”

If elected president, perhaps Obama’s first appointment should be a fact-checker.

Not just for number crunching but also because neither China nor Japan mandate fuel-economy standards. And the 27.5 m.p.g. standard was set by the government, not the automakers.

(Via Matt Sheffield).

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