Monster Fuel

"Bush plan to cost Big 3," the Detroit News howled in a front page headline the morning after the president's 2007 State of the Union Address, "He wants tougher fuel rules, more ethanol use."

In a vexing effort to ensure that Michigan, a state aiming to be a global transportion leader, falls even further behind the world's leading fuel efficiency innovators, Michigan's Congressional delegation held the line.

"We don't need the hammer of job-killing (fuel efficiency) increases," Representative Joe Knollenberg told the News. "This proposal would lead to more job cuts and plant closings in Michigan."

Phooey. There's growing worldwide demand for smarter, more fuel efficient cars and trucks. And President Bush, in a rare example of meaningful leadership on energy use and geopolitical strategy, used his annual speech to set the impressive goal of reducing gasoline consumption in America by 20 percent in 10 years.

Several governors across the Great Lakes region are betting on the growing alternative energy industry to help reverse their state's economic decline, generate jobs, particularly in rural areas, and stregthen the country's moral, financial, and military position against foreign nations and terrorists.

But the automakers - and the elected leaders who back their 20th century thinking - remain slow to advance real solutions to America's problems.

Digging deeper into today's edition of the Detroit News...Drive, the section devoted entirely to the latest auto news, features a product review of Monster Trucks. The highlight? The 2008 F-Series Super Duty Ford trucks. Mileage rating? "Not rated because of size," the paper reports. "Expect powerful engines to gobble up fuel."

This the day after the President of the United of America says conserving gas is essential to national security and prosperity.