General Motors CEO Dan Akerson doesn't want tougher fuel efficiency standards. That's no surprise. Here's the surprise: What he wants instead is a $1-per-gallon gas tax increase.
If given a choice between a gas surcharge and the increasing fuel efficiency standards that are set to phase in over the next 15 years or so, Akerson says, he'd choose the tax. The overall efficiency of cars on the road would still increase, because buyers would opt for more efficient and thus more cost-effective cars. But the tax would be a better deal for the auto industry. As it turns out, high gas prices don't affect car sales as much as expected, and automakers are worried about the engineering challenges of meeting ever more stringent levels of efficiency on an externally-determined timeline.
GM isn't going to actively push for a gas tax, which is too bad just because it would make Republican congresspeople's hair catch on fire which would be fun to watch for a little while. (We would put it out, though! We're not monsters.)