- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 17, 2010

All the propaganda about General Motors’ initial public offering ignores why the troubled automaker is turning the corner. Aside from taking $50 billion from taxpayers in a humiliating bailout, the key move to cut operating expenses was killing off or dumping half of its unloved brands. Pontiac hit the end of the road two weeks ago and nobody cared because its models were nothing more than rebadged Chevys with extra gaudy plastic cladding tacked on. That’s a reminder of how far Government Motors has to go before people will want to buy their cars over better products from other companies.

One of GM’s bright spots is the Chevrolet Camaro, which for the first time in 31 years is challenging the Ford Mustang to be the top-selling pony car. An exciting trend is reflected in the race between these two All-American hotrods (if the Camaro - which is built in Canada - can be called that). Contrary to the tiny deathtraps radical greens want to cram everyone into, today’s muscle cars prove that modern engines can be efficient, clean and still have gobs of power. The base 2011 Mustang, for example, has over 300 horsepower and gets 30 miles per gallon at cruising speed.

This is a golden age for automobile performance. The Porsche 911 Turbo, which has 500 horsepower and rockets to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds, manages 25 mpg and received low-emissions certification under California’s strict standards. Almost every manufacturer produces fun, decent and interesting motorcars, with the slight exception of recall-plagued Toyota - which mostly cranks out boring appliances on wheels.

Sourpusses at the Transportation Department are plotting to sabotage the market with an unrealistic 62 mpg average for all cars within 15 years. With style, performance and efficiency on the rise, this is a grand time to be an auto consumer. Motorists can’t let bureaucrats rain on the rally.