After grossly overestimating the number of people killed in the recent tornado in Greensburg, Kansas, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama made another unforced error this week at a speech in Detroit.
As reported by Chicago Tribune columnist Jim Mateja, Obama criticized the U.S. auto industry for not being sufficiently environmentally friendly but made a significant mistake (h/t Paul Mirengoff):
The domestics certainly haven't flooded showrooms with gas/electric hybrids like the Japanese. But in fairness, the newest Japanese assembly plant in the U.S. produces 14-m.p.g. Toyota Tundra pickups, not Prius hybrids rated at 60 m.p.g.
"While our fuel standards haven't moved from 27.5 miles per gallon in two decades, both China and Japan have surpassed us, with Japanese cars now getting an average of 45 miles to the gallon," Obama said.
"I'm not sure where he got that figure," Toyota spokesman Mike Michels said. "No carmaker gets 45 m.p.g. Ours is closer to 30 m.p.g."
If elected president, perhaps Obama's first appointment should be a fact-checker.
Not just for number crunching but also because neither China nor Japan mandate fuel-economy standards. And the 27.5 m.p.g. standard was set by the government, not the automakers.
Unlike Obama's Kansas error, this one does not seem to be the product of a slip of the tongue but a fact-checking error. By the standard the liberal press set for President Bush on Iraq WMD, Barack Obama is a "liar" then.
Don't hold your breath waiting for someone in the media to say that.
Update 05-12. Some blogs have disputed the accuracy of Mateja's reporting, however, if you look at the official EPA figures for fuel economy, Toyota's 2007 cars (not SUVs) get an average of 32.59 miles per gallon if you run the numbers, within 2.6 gallons of the 30-gallon estimate offered by the Toyota spokesman in Mateja's article.