Romney Once Thought European Gas Prices, Efficient Cars Were Good Ideas


The mere mention of raising the gas tax here in America is quite taboo, and the idea that the U.S. should pay gas prices even close to the $8.00 a gallon many European countries pay is downright scary to some people.

But not GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who was once quoted as saying that America would be better off with “European gas prices.” Say whaaaaaa?

The New York Times interviewed Democratic Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, who recalled a 2006 conversation with Romney where the GOP candidate got “animated” discussing lightweight, tamden-style super-efficient cars. Cars not unlike the Volkswagen XL1 concept. Cars that are anathema to much of the GOP’s truck-driving, gas-guzzling base.

Schweitzer advised Romney not to discuss issues if he wanted to run for President as a Republican…and so far Romney hasn’t. Rather, good ol’ Mittens has called the Chevy Volt a “car whose time has not come” and has allowed his energy policy to be dictated by the oil industry. Romney does not speak of renewable energy, despite making great strides towards green energy sources as Governor of Massachusetts.

The son of auto executive George Romney, Mitt Romney had a first-hand experience with the gas guzzlers Detroit automakers regularly turned out. Romney even wrote in his biography that “Dad called his competitors’ cars ‘gas guzzling dinosaurs,’ a term that he helped make popular.”

Perhaps this is what inspired Romney to remark to an advisor, Rob Gray, that “we’d be a lot better off in this country if we had European gas prices.” Why? Because it would convince Americans to get out of their SUVs, and into more efficient cars. Romney is absolutely right in regard; if Americans had higher gas prices, we’d switch to cars with better fuel economy, naturally reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

But don’t expect to see Candidate Romney telling the GOP base that what this country needs are high gas prices and fuel efficient cars. In his bid to win the Presidency, Romney has moved so far to the right that he seems to have forsaken his own beliefs, especially in regards to the environment. He has even gone so far as to blame President Obama for the price of gas more than doubling, even though gas prices were artificially low when Obama took office and prices are about where they were in George W. Bush’s last year as President.

Which is a damn, damn shame, because if anybody could have made a business case for environmentalism, it was probably Romney. ALl hope isn’t lost for Romney though; one of his top advisors is a big EV advocate, and as governor Romney loaded his cabinet with self-described environmentalists. Would he dare do the same as President, and risk alienating his ultra-conservative base?

Who knows? Just a few weeks from the election, and Romney the Candidate still offers more questions than answers, especially when it comes to energy and environmentalism.

Source: The New York Times

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he’s running, because he’s one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Regardless of who is President, our subsidized gas prices will eventually have to rise closer to the norm….


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  • no name

    So when Obama changes his mind, it’s called ‘growing’ or its described as an ‘evolving’ opinion. When Romney changes his mind, it’s pure evil.

    • Christopher DeMorro

      @ no name

      I never called Romney evil. Not once. If anything, the tone of my article was more forlorn than accusatory. I happen to live in CT, and Massachusetts is our neighbor-to-the-north. Much of what Romney in terms of environmentalism has inspired CT to step up its game.

      Romney used his business acumen to make environmentalism positive and profitable in Massachusetts. Now all of the sudden, he thinks “Drill baby drill” is the answer to our energy problems.

      That isn’t changing one’s mind. That is pandering to the public.

  • Jerry

    I think there is a distinct difference in mindsets between the “do-er” and the advocate. I can dream all day long about the future of electric cars, but if you are the president of US, you need to have a realistic view of what works, and how it works. That is the distinction Romney is clear about, but B.O. seems lacking of.

  • Diego

    JF Kennedy didn’t ask for what is possible, he asked for the impossible, and because it’s America, he was successful.

    Where is this America hiding? Why did America become so risk averse?