Failure to improve auto fuel efficiency is short-sighted...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 29, 2002

Failure to improve auto fuel efficiency is short-sighted folly

Dan Rodricks hit a home run on the subject of the Senate's recent folly in stalling higher fuel economy standards ("Senate should have stepped on the gas to OK auto bill," column, March 18).

SUVs and minivans with higher fuel efficiency are perfectly viable, despite the protests of the automobile industry that higher standards would either deny Americans the right to choose their favorite cars or bankrupt the industry.

Mr. Rodricks has it right: That's malarkey. In similar fashion, the auto industry has fought seatbelts, air bags and pollution controls in order to protect its profits at the expense of the public good.

We cannot drill our way out of energy dependence by simply increasing domestic supply and guzzling away. Only measures to reduce dependence on oil by increasing efficiency and utilizing alternative energy sources where that is practical will break the cycle of dependence.

Forty percent of oil consumed in America goes to fuel cars and light trucks. Fuel economy is at a 20-year low, and we import more than half the oil we use.

Without measures such as those the Senate rejected, our dependence on foreign oil will exceed 60 percent in the next 10 years. Genuine concern for our nation's security might take that into account.

Anthony Cobb

Baltimore

The writer is a board member of Republicans for Environmental Protection.

Gas mileage mandates hurt consumers, economy

A clear majority of U.S. senators, led by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, voted correctly against a proposal to increase fuel mileage regulations on SUVs, pickups and minivans ("Senate defeats tougher gas mileage standards," March 14).

Small businesses, auto workers and light truck consumers should ask Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, on the other hand, why he voted for a regulation that would cost Maryland auto jobs.

New vehicle fuel efficiency mandates would hurt an economy struggling to get back on sound footing and the safety of many Marylanders on our roadways.

The better way to reduce dependency on foreign oil is to allow the market to help solve the problem. And the Bush administration's decision to end an 8-year-old failed government program that attempted to acquire fuel efficiency of gasoline engines at any cost was a step forward for clean air and consumers.

Unfortunately, a handful of environmental lobbyists and their ally, Mr. Sarbanes, still haven't processed that reality.

Karen Kerrigan

Washington

The writer chairs the Small Business Survival Committee.

Taking responsibility for rising gas prices

Like many others, I am concerned by the rising price of gasoline.

However, as the owner of three vehicles (including one SUV), I have only to look in the mirror to see who is partially to blame.

Stephan B. Brooks

Reisterstown

`A tale of two lives' insults law-abiding citizens

In reference to the fate of Derrick Breedlove chronicled by The Sun's editorial "A tale of two lives" (March 19), I've become increasingly disturbed by the criminal-coddling claptrap The Sun's editors pawn off as informed opinion.

A common street punk who brandished a sawed-off shotgun in two earlier robberies of the same store terrorizes a hardworking employee into quitting her job, returns to rob the store a third time and forces another decent citizen to take a life and suffer the trauma that will certainly ensue from such an action.

And from The Sun we get a sermon on the "imponderable" effects of poverty and how people are "lured into crime." This is an insult to law-abiding people.

I'm only too happy that Derrick Breedlove's "life or death" decision resulted in his death before he had the occasion to kill someone.

Richard Meade

Baltimore

Community may feel safer after killing of young robber

As a resident of Dundalk, I am outraged at the recent robbery at Modern Discount Liquors on Holabird Avenue.

The boy who was shot as he robbed the store danced with the devil and paid the price. There is no reason to feel sorry for him just because he was a football player with a bright future ("Question for friends, family of teen: `Why?'" March 15).

Maybe after this store clerk stood up for his rights, this community can feel a lot safer and sleep a lot better.

Kenn Masington

Dundalk

Many state Democrats will vote for Ehrlich

I usually enjoy Kal's cartoons. But I think his March 17 cartoon rests on one big assumption: that because Maryland has an overwhelming majority of Democrats, that automatically means Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich doesn't stand a chance in a race for governor.

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