• John V Posted: 11/4/2008 10:03am PST

    A bit of context and backstory is strongly needed here. You write:
    "One could argue that VW/Audi's impressively diverse collection of vehicles and technology is really no credit to them, but rather a natural response to high gas prices in Europe and developing countries. I.e., they had to do it."
    And WHY did they have to do it? Because European governments have, for decades, levied heavy *TAXES* on vehicle fuels as a matter of policy. Even in this country, Ford CEO Alan Mulally has said openly--several times--that higher gas taxes would be the best, fairest, and most efficient way to get more efficient vehicles (far better than CAFE, which shifts the burden entirely onto carmakers).
    But with Americans convinced that "government is the problem," taxes for any purpose are viewed as unalloyed evil, to be fought at any turn. Even the sensible notion of a floor on gasoline prices--to give automakers some predictability for product plans that take five years--has virtually no chance of enactment.
    Ah well, we shall sow what we reap. As we are finding out right now.

  • colin Posted: 11/4/2008 4:29pm PST

    John V - very good point, thanks for explaining further. I, too, am a proponent of gas taxes, and agree that they have helped drive efficient technology in Europe. The artificially cheap fuel we've had in the U.S. for decades has in part led us to the fix we find ourselves in now. Oops.

  • reece Posted: 11/4/2008 7:07pm PST

    best article in a lomng time, yes you can be profitable making cars you need a diverse portfolio and need to make decent cars, lesson for Detroit but are they listening? No too preoccupied with getting uncle sam and joe taxpayer to dig them out yet again.

  • Tom L Posted: 11/5/2008 10:42am PST

    I agree with John above. My take is that we could reduce taxes on income to offset raises in taxes on fuel and be much better off for it.

  • Ed Posted: 11/5/2008 2:16pm PST

    I was always, and long before the gas price crises the last 3 years, in favor of a HUGE tax on gas, but one that would be 100% offset by equal cuts in Income taxes.
    Of course, no corrupt and cowardly worthless politician, even the DEMS that support gas taxes in general (the Reps are opposed on principle, and on the3 fear of Tax Creep) had the GUTS to propose anything remotely like that,
    and the consequence was the TRILLION DOLLAR TRANSFER of wealth from the US and the G-7 to the OPEC THUGS who pay the terrorists who blow us up. (thank god, not the US since 9/11, but plenty of Euro and Asian targets with 1,000s of fatalties altogether).