Sometimes the absurdity of a columnist leaves me speechless. Take this column from yesterday's WSJ by Holman W. Jenkins Jr.. All I can do is shake my head in wonder.
First he writes a fake letter from Toyota (please see my post on his past column); yesterday he came out with this:
No: If Prius owners consume less, there's less demand, prices will be lower and somebody else will step up to consume more than they would at the otherwise higher price. That's the price mechanism at work. Oil is a fantastically useful commodity. Humans can be relied upon to consume all the oil they'd be willing to consume at a given price.
More absurdity below.
But wouldn't using less oil make us less dependent on Mideast imports?
Just the opposite: In the nature of things, the cheapest oil is consumed first, and Mideast oil is the cheapest. Drive a Hummer if you want to reduce America's reliance on Arab oil. Indeed, if we could all just pull together and drive gasoline prices high enough, we'd be able to satisfy all our fuel needs next door from Canadian oil sands.
So get rid of those hybrids. And why are you Europeans driving such efficient cars? Don't you see all the harm your causing. Jerome, get a Hummer.
To wit, let's not underestimate the degree to which our overseas entanglements are despite our interest in oil, rather than because of it.
Oil has nothing to do with our foreign policy; it's so clear now. This is the Wall Street Journal?
That leaves carbon dioxide, aka greenhouse gas, to support the increasingly rickety rationale for treating fuel efficiency as a socially desirable end in itself. Here, we can only suggest Prius fans might do the planet more good by convincing the American public of the merits of nuclear energy, the closest thing to a genuinely "green solution" to energy challenges in the real world.
This is part of Toyota's response to Jenkins's last car column:
Another significant number is 100 million -- that's the gallons of gas we estimate our U.S. hybrids have saved since the Prius debuted in 2000. That's enough to fuel a fleet of 200,000 delivery vehicles for a year. As much as I'd like to take credit by saying we are brilliant marketers and have painted a green picture to sell our products, the people who purchase our vehicles know the truth -- our cars tell the story for us. And we believe they will continue to do so, which is why we're introducing a hybrid version of the Lexus GS next year, as well as putting a hybrid powertrain in America's most popular car, the Camry.
Am I missing something here? Can anyone assure me that I've not fallen down the rabbit hole? Please.
I'll leave you with one final thought: This is what the people who run our country read. And as Napoleon Bonaparte said: "In politics stupidity is not a handicap."