They're recycling poultry waste into fuel now, says the April issue of Discover magazine. A factory next to a ConAgra meat-processing plant uses heat and pressure to convert offal from slaughtered poultry into diesel oil.
Good. Let's have Washington ship in some of its awful chickens**t legislation.
In case you missed the news, Congress recently revised the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) law, raising the mile-per-gallon standards for light trucks. Never mind the howling about how the standard isn't stiffened by nearly enough. Just ask yourself why this law passed now.
The answer has naught to do with global warming or our dependence on imported oil. Congress ignored CAFE for most of 20 years but passed a revision now because this year members want to show voters they have done ``something'' about those issues so we'll send them back in November.
It doesn't matter that the last thing an intelligent person would do to address these problems is to fiddle with CAFE. It doesn't work and hasn't worked for more than 20 years, because it tries to dictate supply without doing anything about demand. It does nothing about consumer choices or behavior. So, since 1985 auto manufacturers (mostly European luxury and sports car makers) have paid more than $650 million in fines for violating CAFE-just another cost of doing business, built into the price tags.
Instead of suggesting more of the same failed approach, real leaders would stand up and say, ``We need to tax gasoline and guzzlers, both to reduce consumption and to fund basic research into alternatives.''
No such leaders are evident in D.C. We don't elect people gutsy enough to say ``new taxes,'' in part because there is so little discipline on the spending side that we suspect the $650 million in fines just got sucked into the rounding error on the national debt.
As much as we preach personal responsibility, though, American voters prefer a Congress that regulates over one that lets us face the consequences of our choices. The philosophy appears to be: ``Don't let them tempt me with a 6-mpg truck so I won't buy one.''
As long as that is the case, we'd better find a way to run our cars on meaningless legislation-a waste product we'll have in abundance.
Mr. Wilson is senior editor (special projects) for AutoWeek, a sister publication of Tire Business.