I hesitate to pick a fight with a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner like New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. On the critical issue of developing a national energy policy to lessen our consumption of imported oil, he's been early, smart, and right.
UAW - are you listening?
It has been argued here before that if the government wants to be serious about improving fuel economy, all it has to do is boost the tax on gasoline. The revenue generated could be rebated to lower-income drivers who are truly disadvantaged or invested in mass transit. The auto companies aren't going to argue for such a tax because it would give them a black eye with consumers. And the government won't do it either, because of its anti-tax bias.
But Friedman, using his column as a bully pulpit, could argue for such a tax with impunity.
And it would be a whole lot more effective than perpetuating the old myth about the ignorant luddites in Detroit who are withholding the small, fuel-sipping cars that Americans really want to buy.
Update: more from Autoblog