Auto manufacturers don't trust people to buy efficient cars
The federal government is proposing a new fuel efficiency standard of 56.2 miles per gallon by 2025. This is fairly modest, on a global scale — it would require a 5 percent increase every year from 2017 onwards, but Europe is on track to hit 60 MPG by 2020, so it can certainly be done. Car manufacturers aren't happy about the prospect, though, and are pushing for a lower standard.
Their objections: It could add thousands to the cost of a new vehicle (whereas using less $4-a-gallon gas would probably only save hundreds per vehicle every year). And more to the point, it would require them to make smaller cars. This is America — who's going to buy a smaller car? Where would you keep your ATV? Where would you mount your buck? For god's sake, man, where would you hang your truck balls? THIS IS NOT WHAT WE FOUGHT THE NAZIS FOR BY JIMINY.
General Motors has said that it will "find a way" to meet new standards, but other manufacturers are pushing back. Negotiations are only beginning, and there won't be a new standard until September — giving automakers a few months to recalibrate their idea of how American laziness is trending. Yeah, it does seem right now as though everyone wants a car big enough for them to drive their other car around in. But surely a country that will pay extra for a car where they don't have to lean over to crank down the windows could be convinced to pay for one where they don't have to get out and stand at the gas pump as often.