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