Driving school is often a drag for participants. But as long as you're learning to drive, it might not hurt to learn a bit about how to identify more fuel-efficient cars and driving tactics to save gasoline, right?

Wrong. It's a distraction and irrelevant, since "so-called environmental mandates...have nothing to do with driving."

Ummm, fuel efficiency has nothing to do with driving? Hello ? ? ?

The latest rant

Or so says the latest rant by the ever-irascible, always-negative, consistently mean-spirited Manny Lopez, columnist for the Detroit News. Driving school, in his view, should be about driving techniques and only driving techniques, nothing more.

Talking about fuel efficiency or higher-MPG cars? Practically Communism on our doorstep.

Freedom of religion ??

His latest column takes off on a Michigan bill that would expand the curriculum in driving schools to include lessons on "identifying the attributes of a fuel-efficient vehicle," and "recycling vehicle parts and fluids," as well as "carpooling and using public transportation."

Why, they might as well force students to practice Satanism right there behind the wheel. Such lessons impinge on their freedom of worship, Lopez says, forcing them to practice "someone else's religion," because, "trust me, environmental activism is a religion."

Uh huh. Any time a columnist says, "trust me" ... we don't.

Puking at the president

We've noted the intemperate words of Mr. Lopez before. "Pardon me while I puke," he wrote about President Barack Obama's role in this year's GM and Chrysler rescues, saying that the president is "playing us for fools." Classy, eh?

The bill is currently stuck in committee in the Legislature, as Lopez notes, so Michigan's driving students aren't in imminent peril of having to learn about ways to improve gas mileage.

We do have to agree with the ill-tempered columnist on one point, though. It'd better if the state of Michigan could manage to keep its potholes fixed, so driving was better for everyone.