From the with-friends-like-these department: Environmentalists reacted with “stunned surprise” to an announcement yesterday by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) that he would consider supporting increased use of diesel fuel in automobiles. Speaking to a reporter, Kerry said, “I would personally be willing to embrace bringing diesel into the mix. The gains in terms of fuel are extraordinary.” Maybe so, but diesel emissions are carcinogenic, and Frank O’Donnell of the Clean Air Trust said, “There’s no person in the environmental community who would trade higher fuel efficiency for more cancer-causing diesels.” In light of the strong response from environmentalists, Kerry issued a statement last night in which he appeared to backpedal from his support of diesel. The senator, normally popular among environmentalists, is the lead sponsor of a proposal to increase fuel-efficiency standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2013. The Bush administration announced today that it will oppose the plan.