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for people who care about the West

Give Arnie and diesel their due

  Things are slanty all over. It's no secret that my fellow granola leftys don't like Hummer-driving meatheads (and John Mecklin really doesn't) (HCN, 7/23/07). While it's true that hydrogen is a sham, Schwarzenegger deserves a little more credit than HCN seems willing to give.

Your article somehow omitted that the MTV episode that he appeared on was about biodiesel, not hydrogen. He has also heavily supported solar, wind, pollution measures and other biofuels. In fact, the day I received this issue, news broke about Schwarzenegger signing stringent new diesel pollution measures into law that would require old off-road engines to be updated with new, cleaner, more efficient engines.

Will it be good business for some? Yes. Good business and sexy political campaigns are just the way it goes when you live in a capitalist republic. Just ask Al Gore. Mecklin is right that efficiency should come before anything else (a very valid point of Arnie criticism). Once again, though, our old biases keep us from seeing what makes the most sense in the big picture. Palmquist's article kept falling back to the "should be hybrid" side of things. That's: gasoline/electric hybrid. Hybrid technology is good, but it has had a sexy ad campaign of its own. Advertised to be in the 60s for miles per gallon, Toyota and Honda hybrids have a real-world fuel economy in the 40s.

Years before there were any hybrids, Volkswagen started selling a car in the U.S. that can get 50+ mpg, is able to run on renewable and cleaner-burning fuel, and can blow the doors off a hybrid. It's a diesel. So why haven't we been hearing about this? There's that old bias again.

Gabe Stephens
Pagosa Springs, Colorado