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Efficiency vs. conservation

August 17, 2008

The witty story about the presidential campaign flap over tire gauges ("Gauging Furor Over Air in Tires," Rumble Seat, Aug. 8) nevertheless makes a major mistake by confusing Barack Obama's wide-ranging plans to promote fuel efficiency with conservation.

Dan Neil correctly notes that Obama used the proper inflation of tires as an example of how fuel savings can readily be achieved that would equal all the oil that could be pumped out of new offshore wells advocated by John McCain. But this is not advocating conservation. Rather, it is a call for efficiency.

Unlike conservation, typified by President Carter's infamous suggestion that Americans lower their thermostats in winter and don cardigans, Obama's proposal for efficiency through proper tire inflation does not require cutting back on use.

Michael Salman

Los Angeles, CA

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