When Rudy Giuliani appeared on Meet the Press last Sunday, host Tim Russert asked the former New York mayor if he favored a proposal to increase the fuel efficiency of automobiles. Here was their exchange:

MR. RUSSERT: Congress–the House has passed an energy bill which would mandate 35 miles per gallon per automobiles by the year 2020. Would you support that?

MR. GIULIANI: That isn’t the way I think it should be done. I think what we should be doing is developing the alternatives so it’s possible to accomplish that as opposed to just setting mandates and not having the support there for expansion of hybrid vehicles, expansion of biofuels, including ethanol. Expansion…

MR. RUSSERT: But you’re against increasing miles per gallon.

MR. GIULIANI: I would not do it that way, yes. I would do it with heavy expansion of hybrid vehicles, which move some of the sources over to electricity, then deal with clean coal, nuclear power, hybrid vehicles, expansion of hydroelectric power, more oil refineries, more domestic oil. All of those things are the things that we should be supporting. And we should be selling that to the, to the rest of the world, because if, if–no matter what we do, if China and India and these other countries that are developing don’t start to get control on this, it’s going to wipe out any good that we do. So the real emphasis here should be on developing energy independence and creating these alternative industries.

Giuliani’s stand is wrong. Increasing the fuel efficiency of automobiles would conserve oil in the amount of 1.1 million barrels per day. Nothing else has so dramatic an effect. What really makes Giuliani’s stand peculiar, however, is that his Houston-based law firm, Bracewell and Giuliani, is lobbying Congress against the very thing the candidate is advocating: “creating these alternative industries.” Bloomberg News reports, “Southern Co., American Electric Power Co. and other producers hired top Washington lobbyists, including Rudy Giuliani’s firm, to help defeat a measure that would force them to boost electricity generated by wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy to 15 percent of the U.S. total by 2020.” The problem Giuliani faces in his quest for the Republican nomination is that he is going to have to answer for Bracewell and Giuliani’s client list. Russert really made Rudy’s anything-to-make-a-buck attitude look terrible.