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We’re a pretty diverse group here at Speed:Sport:Life, no matter whether you’re talking about race, religion, politics, or sanctioning-body affiliation. In fact, if you were to tally up all of our votes, we probably canceled each other out. If we’d all agreed to stay home, we could have saved a few hours of line-trudging boredom back in November.

But while we’ve refused to “pick a side”, President Obama has just come down firmly on the side of the car-haters. According to the New York Times, our new leader has ordered the EPA to “aggressively review” the application by California to set its own “emissions” standards. In this case, “emissions” means CO2 emissions, which are directly linked to fuel consumption.

The plain English? California’s going to require 35mpg fleet average by 2016. But they won’t be alone. There are thirteen other states — hereby dubbed the “Trotsky Thirteen” in honor of Lenin’s old pal — which would like to follow California’s lead. Together, they account for about half of the American automotive market. One phrase that’s being thrown around is “the involuntary hybridization of America’s automotive fleet”, and that isn’t too far off the mark. A mandatory average of 35mpg will strip American consumers of the freedom to choose vehicles as diverse as the Nissan GT-R and the Ford Flex. Depending on the violence of the penalties applied to nonconformists, this could force Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Jaguar, and several other manufacturers out of the United States. It is also likely to kill enthusiast vehicles such as the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang, Nissan 370Z, Subaru WRX and STi, and even the Honda S2000 (which doesn’t come close to 35mpg).

Obama’s immediate action on this is supposedly designed to “give the automakers time to tool-up for 2011”. Hello? Has anybody involved with this decision bothered to read the news? Who has the money or ability to retool for this mandate right now? Even Honda and Toyota will be in a pickle; they’ll have to force mandatory hybrid powertrains on their bread-and-butter Accord and Camry consumers, raising the average transaction price on Accords and Camrys into the $30,000 range, right in the middle of the worst economy since Jimmy Carter.

President Carter, some of you will recall, also hated cars and used the full power of the government to regulate, humiliate, and assault the auto industry. President Obama has promised to be different, to bring “hope” and “change” to America. It won’t come from crippling our already strained economy and auto industry in the name of “preventing climate change”. Talk to your representative today. Let him or her know that you don’t support this mandate. Make no mistake: in the world envisioned by Obama and his brain trust, there’s no room for anything faster or more exciting than a Prius. If you disagree, let the man know, and let him know pronto.

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Jack Baruth

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