George Will keeps digging

GEORGE WILL KEEPS DIGGING…. Given George Will’s errors on the environment lately, it’s tempting to think he’d avoid the subject altogether. No such luck.

Over the weekend, ABC’s “This Week” briefly covered the president’s latest White House press conference. The show featured a clip from Obama in which he said, “I know that if the Japanese can design an affordable, well-designed hybrid, then doggone it, the American people should be able to do the same. So my job is to ask the auto industry, ‘Why is it you guys can’t do this?'”

George Will was unimpressed.

“I assume the president is talking about the Prius. It’s affordable because Toyota sells it at a loss, and it can afford to sell it at a loss because it is selling twice as many gas-guzzling pickup trucks of the sort our president detests. So as an auto executive, he’s off to a rocky start.”

Actually, the only thing “rocky” here is the quality of Will’s analysis.

In reality, Toyota used to sell hybrids at a loss — in 1997. The industry and consumer trends have changed considerably over the last 12 years, and Toyota started making a profit on each Prius sold way back in 2001.

Indeed, reader R.H. directed me to this item, which noted, “[T]he Nikkei newspaper in Japan estimated just last week that both Honda and Toyota make over $3,000 of profit on each hybrid sold.”

Will isn’t having a good year.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation