George Will hates climate science, and everything that springs from climate science, including any non-carbon-intensive mode of transportation, like fuel-efficient cars, or, heaven forbid, trains. Will’s column today celebrates his belief that Americans are once again disproving President Obama’s Big Government Social Engineering by flocking to ever-larger and less-fuel-efficient vehicles:
Have consumers thanked him for trying to wean them from their desire to drive large, useful, comfortable, safe vehicles that he thinks threaten their habitat, Earth? The 2013 numbers tell the tale of their ingratitude. In 2013, for the 32nd consecutive year, the best-selling vehicle was Ford’s F-Series pickups. This supremacy began, fittingly, in the first year of Ronald Reagan’s deregulatory presidency.
It is nice, in these dark socialist times, that Will can still detect the flicker of freedom in the hearts of Americans flocking toward Reaganite Freedomcars. And it is true that the Ford F-Series is the single best-selling vehicle in the U.S. But the single best-selling vehicle by itself accounts for less than 5 percent of all vehicles sold. The single most popular item on a long list does not, by itself, tell you what all customers want. (To explain this concept in terms Will might understand: If the Yankees have the biggest television audience of any baseball team, it would not prove that most baseball fans love the Yankees.)
So, are Americans on the whole flocking toward gas-guzzling vehicles? No, just the opposite (via Brad Plumer):
Americans are also driving less in general. Will can rest assured that, even though Americans do not share his weird mania for emitting greenhouse gasses to spite Barack Obama, they aren’t cutting back for political reasons, either. The steady increase in fuel efficiency has occurred largely because the government has raised fuel-efficiency standards.
Even if Will didn’t have his facts backward, the larger point is that his analysis of transportation choices as a cultural struggle is bizarre and wrong. Will considers climate science a gigantic hoax, and obviously nothing is going to change his mind. Yet he takes his mania a step further by failing to understand that Democrats actually do believe in climate science, and are not merely pretending to believe it as a pretext to enlarge their nefarious control of the populace.
Hence he regularly propounds crackpot arguments such as “the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.” In fact, Democrats don’t want to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions because they want to alter people’s transportation choices. They want to alter people’s transportation choices because they want to restrict greenhouse-gas emissions.