We noted the other day that a recent survey from PriceWaterhouseCoopers that found out fuel economy has finally overtaken cup holders as the most important feature in new cars and trucks for Americans. That fuel economy wasn't at the top of the list in the recent past fits with the insistence by U.S. automakers over the last decade or two that customers wanted big honkin' SUVs, MPGs be damned. According to one ex-GM economist, this is not true.

While big, safe-feeling SUVs were certainly popular with buyers, Walter McManus, currently a professor and head of the Automotive Analysis division of the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan, fuel economy was also important. The Big Three just did everything they could to dismiss mpg concerns because they didn't conform to what was believed inside the corporate board rooms.

"The survey would estimate that people would estimate fuel economy fairly highly," McManus told the subscription-only Energy & Environment News. "Being a good economist, I said, 'No, they don't,' and I changed the results. [...] Our job was not to seek the truth, but to justify decisions that had already been made." Well, thanks a lot.

[Source: Energy & Environment News via Green Car Advisor]
Photo by farlane. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

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