The decision before Congress: Should the government give them an emergency fill-up, or leave them by the side of the road?
Supporters of the proposed $25 billion bailout say that the failure of Ford, GM and Chrysler could devastate the economy and leave hundreds of thousands unemployed.
That said, all the money in the world doesn't solve the key problem -- not enough people are buying American cars.
Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama blames a lack of innovation, calling the industry a "dinosaur."
A Senate vote could come as early as Wednesday, but it's not likely the problem will be solved before Barack Obama takes office in January.
Bailout or no bailout, auto executives need to put the pedal to the metal... and get leaner and greener in order to survive.