Addicted to freedom
That's what we are, according to former governor George Allen (Virginia - R):
ALLEN: I love that statement, America is addicted to oil. What an elitist point of view. Americans are not addicted to oil. Americans are addicted to freedom — the freedom and liberty to move where and when we want.
Ah. So if we have to kill some foreigners or devastate some wilderness, it's not because of greed or a sense of entitlement - it's in the name of F*R*E*E*D*O*M!!
This is actually a very long-standing thing on the part of the Right. I remember listening to Limbaugh at one point, I think it was back in 1990 or so (probably around the time of Desert Storm) making similar arguments.
The attitude is that our love of cars and "freedom" is superior to decadent Eurotrash concepts of mass transit and urban planning. It's almost black-helicopter paranoid: "The MAN wants to control where you GO, dude!"
Of course, there's the fact that higher fuel mileage standards don't impact this happy image of Freedom, as you'd still be able to move as you wish without kowtowing to some Bolshevik in the Transportation Department, and yet the conservatives oppose them. Funny how that works.