Special Coverage

NADA Convention & Exposition

LAS VEGAS – U.S. presidential hopefuls former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and ex-Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson raise concerns over fuel economy during a political panel discussion here on the eve of the National Automobile Dealers Assn. convention.

“We have a serious problem in this country with global warming,” says Thompson, a Republican candidate who once headed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “We have got to increase the mileage in our automobiles.

“(President Bush) has offered a plan to reduce the reliance on gasoline and fuel by 20% by 2018, and I think that’s a step in the right direction.”

Vilsack says it is time to “start talking differently about this issue.”

“I think we ought to be taking a look at different structures and different systems to regulate emissions from tailpipes,” the Democratic hopeful says. “This is also a national security imperative.

“So long as we continue to support oil being imported, we are literally funding both sides of global insurgency. It makes no sense to me that we continue to take our hard-earned dollars and invest it in countries like Iran (and) Venezuela.”

egenoff@wardsauto.com