Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) , General Motors(NYSE: GM), and DaimlerChrysler(NYSE: DCX) are usually adversaries in the never-ending battle for automotive market share. But now, they're united, lobbying against the Bush administration's call for increased fuel efficiency in SUVs and pickup trucks.

Given our nation's heavy dependence on oil, coupled with its rising price and ongoing unrest in the Middle East, it seems reasonable to demand more fuel efficiency from the vehicles we drive. Environmental advocates have long called for significant increases in fuel efficiency, and have been severely disappointed by the Bush administration's handling of the economy on many fronts. Even in this case, Bush & Co. are asking for a much smaller increase than many would want -- yet Detroit's Big Three are up in arms. Their opposition now is a bit surprising, as they have recently spoken out in favor of new fuel technologies and their ability to deliver greater fuel efficiency.

In a Reuters story, GM said, "The reality is that the true costs of the proposed standards, if they could be adequately determined, would dwarf the benefits." That seems a bit puzzling. How does GM know the "true costs," if, as it suggests, they can't be "adequately determined"? Even if the costs are high, the benefits of increased fuel efficiency are also substantial, including cleaner air, lower fuel costs, and a decreased dependency on foreign oil.

According to a story in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Toyota(NYSE: TM) and Honda(NYSE: HMC) were less strident in their responses, with Toyota even noting, "The proposed regulation will encourage the entire industry to similarly apply the best available technologies. We believe this is a desirable result."