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But it's not clear that more help is what the auto industry needs. As the chairman of GM North America, Bob Lutz, recently noted, trying to reduce energy consumption by limiting the characteristics of cars that can be manufactured in the United States is like trying to stop obesity by mandating that all clothes be made only in size small.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) seems to get this, more or less. When asked what how many miles per gallon he thinks auto makers should be forced to get, he said: "I'm not prepared to name a certain number. I'm hopeful that the marketplace itself and the sale of hybrid cars—the [Toyota] Prius, electric cars—would address this issue in an effective fashion."
Katherine Mangu-Ward ia an associate editor for
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