People have always had something of an aversion to hard truths. Most Americans say they want their country to get off foreign oil or help the environment, but when it comes to the bottom line, they want cheap fuel. And when the prices on gas pumps start to dip, consumer interest in smaller more efficient vehicles tends to go out the window. Understandably, drivers everywhere tend to make vehicle purchasing decisions in large part based on fuel prices.
Ward's Auto World columnist Drew Winters notes that executives like Bob Lutz have long advocated that fossil fuel prices need to increase in order to make more efficient vehicles appeal to consumers. But with U.S. consumers' almost instinctual avoidance of taxation, it has been difficult for politicians to consider such measures. Instead, it would appear that most constituents want government to mandate both more fuel efficient cars (through mechanisms like CAFE) and cheap gas without impacting the cost of automobiles themselves.
Winters paraphrases The End of Oil author Paul Roberts, noting that "every major fuel shift in history – from wood to coal to oil – was driven primarily by market forces, specifically by competitive advantages of the new fuel over the old." Thus, part of the solution may simply to make the fossil fuels more expensive relative to other energy sources.
Unfortunately, Winters surmises, it appears that nobody can handle this truth.
[Source: Ward's Auto World | Photo: GoodGreentips.com]