New audio has been uncovered by Buzzfeed reportedly showing Mitt Romney praising fuel efficiency mandates. And it certainly won't help him erase the Etch-A-Sketch phenomenon.
The audio, which is said to be from a 2007 town hall meeting, features someone sounding a lot like Romney answering a question about fuel efficiency standards. It is slightly hard to hear the original question, but the man reported as Romney repeats it and says, in part, "what can you do about automotive efficiency and would you consider mandates of some kind on automotive efficiency?"
"And the answer," he says, "is would I consider them, yeah."
He goes on to explain that certain requirements haven't really worked, especially because they haven't applied to trucks and SUVs.
"I'm hopeful that with $3 gasoline being charged by Hugo Chavez, and Ahmadinejad, and Putin and others, that you're going to see Americans slowly but surely move to vehicles that are far more fuel efficient, and you'll see our manufactures start competing on the basis of fuel efficiency."
"I sure hope you're going to see more and more hybrids and much better fuel economy because it's a must," he ads. "We have to make our automobiles far more fuel efficient."
You can listen to the audio below:
The comments will certainly draw comparisons to statements by Obama's Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said in 2008, before he was named to Obama's cabinet. Back then, Chu said “Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." The Wall Street Journal said that was to “coax consumers into buying more-efficient cars and living in neighborhoods closer to work.” [That's WSJ's paraphrase, not Chu's exact quote.]
But it should be noted that Chu was looking to cause the higher gas prices while the person reported to be Romney in 2007 was only hoping to piggy back on them -- and the Romney plan (increased fuel efficiency) could lead to lower gas prices.