WASHINGTON - My mornings begin with reading online editions of Automotive News (www.autonews.com), one of the nation's top automotive industry trade journals.
And no reading is complete without checking the wicked wit and wisdom of Edward Lapham, the executive editor of Automotive News, who also is a longtime friend and occasional mentor.
Naturally, I was interested in Lapham's take on the Senate's most recent abuse of logic - the passage of a bill that demands increased fuel economy from automobile manufacturers without demanding a single contribution from American consumers for energy conservation.
We've discussed that silly approach many times in this space. But Lapham's view merits further mention.
"Now that the Senate's energy bill has set some parameters for the types of vehicles Americans will and won't be able to drive, it's time to take the battle to halt global warming and reduce our dependency on imported oil to the next level," he wrote in a column June 26. "We need to cut back on how much we drive. Let's start by making every office worker work at home one day a week."
By Lapham's estimates, based on an admittedly liberal analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, up to 50 million of the 132 million gainfully employed adults in the United States are laboring in jobs that can be done without driving to a downtown office or to a suburban plant or business park.
Allowing those employees to work at home a day or so every week could dramatically reduce the annual number of vehicle miles driven in the United States - thus, also reducing traffic congestion, air pollution and the waste of billions of gallons of gasoline, Lapham said.
As usual, Lapham was setting us up for a kicker: his belief that a government that decides it can tell us what kinds of cars to buy might also get the idea that it can limit how far we can live from our jobs, the sizes of the houses we can occupy, etc.
Lapham's argument might constitute "overreaching," which is something Democrats and Republicans in Washington often accuse each other of doing. Whether you agree with Lapham, he has a point about reducing commuter fuel use through encouraging more work at home.
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