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Flashback: In 2007, Romney Wanted Government ‘To Invest In New Technology’ For Clean Energy And Fuel Efficiency

If the Mitt Romney of today debated himself from a few years ago, he would likely call himself a government-loving socialist.

In 2007, as he prepared his national presidential campaign, Romney explicitly supported 50-mile-per-gallon fuel efficiency standards, electric cars, government programs for new automotive technologies, and renewable energy to reduce the global warming “burden” of greenhouse gases:

We have to make our automobiles far more fuel efficient. I’d love to see we’re gonna get up to 50 miles per gallon. The time will come, people will look back and say, “You’re kidding me, cars back then only got 25 miles to the gallon? You’re kidding!” We can do much, much better than that and I believe that one of the ways we do that is having a joint public-private partnership to invest in new technology related to fuel efficiency as well as new sources of energy.

Today, after a few good shakes of his Etch A Sketch, Romney now calls fuel standards “disadvantageous for domestic manufacturers.” He must have forgotten that 90% of auto manufacturers operating in the U.S. — including Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo — all support aggressive fuel economy standards that will bring the nation’s auto fleet to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

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A Romney speech released last week illustrates how dramatically the candidate’s stances on energy issues have changed in one election cycle. The audio, purportedly captured at a 2007 town hall event and released by BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, offers a completely different picture of Romney’s energy policies.

(The opening question is a bit garbled, but Romney’s answer is much more clear.)

Here’s a transcript of his comments:

The questioner asked “I like getting off foreign oil. I like the reduction of the burden on greenhouse gasses in global warming. What can you do about automotive efficiency and would you consider mandates of some kind on automotive efficiency?”

And the answer is would I consider them, yeah. The CAFE requirements have not worked terribly well over the last 20 years as you know, in part because they haven’t applied to trucks and so Americans move more and more to trucks and SUVs. So the average fuel economy over the last, I think it’s been 20 years, has been almost flat.

And I’m hopeful that with $3 gasoline being charged by Hugo Chavez and Ahmadinejad and Putin and others, that you’re going to see that Americans are going to slowly but surely move to vehicles that are far more fuel efficient and you’ll see our manufacturers start to build on the basis of fuel efficiency. I sure hope that you’re going to see more and more hybrids and much better fuel economy.

But it’s a must. We have to make our automobiles far more fuel efficient. I’d love to see we’re gonna get up to 50 miles per gallon. The time will come, people will look back and say, “You’re kidding me, cars back then only got 25 miles to the gallon? You’re kidding!” We can do much, much better than that and I believe that one of the ways we do that is having a joint public-private partnership to invest in new technology related to fuel efficiency as well as new sources of energy.

I happen to think that liquefied coal may be a source for us if we can sequester the CO2, I believe that nuclear power, plug in cars, electric cars, battery technology may be a way of reducing our emissions. I also believe that all of the renewable resources, ethanol, biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol, wind power, solar power, we have a lot of sources that we can tap in to.

Romney is now on the opposite side of virtually every single energy issue he supported in 2007. Now, for instance, he routinely mocks an American-made electric car, the Chevy Volt.

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That’s the beauty of running on an Etch A Sketch platform. It allows Romney’s campaign to “shake it up and start all over again” when needed.

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