Bush in Passing Lane on Fuel Efficiency

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So the White House—which has had a hard time lately with its image—has finally done something to applaud. The president wants to increase the fuel efficiency of the cars we drive and yesterday ordered up new rules governing that. That means something very simple: Automakers need to start producing cars that give us more miles for the buck, and oil producers need to get with the ethanol program. And fast.

It's about time this happened. And it is also the perfect political moment. While Kermit the Frog used to bemoan the fact that it isn't easy being green, it is easy now. In fact, it's preferable. So while the Democratic Congress was dithering over energy policy, the president pulled a fast one—and moved first. Better late than never.

Best of all, the Democrats—now feeling somewhat defensive—could decide to one-up the president. That would mean speeding up the game plan for the new regs, which are supposed to be in place at the end of next year. If that happens, bravo. This is one of those rare political moments when a political race might actually benefit consumers.

This could be great political theater: A lame-duck White House takes the first run at a Democratic issue (energy). By co-opting the Democrats, the sky could be the limit: More energy policy can only be good for America.

As for global warming, just wait. The GOP will want to get in on that act, too. Then Al Gore can run, and everyone can claim to be a shade of green.