Americans want gas hogs — and why not?


editors-blog-entry3In the 2 ½ years I’ve been blogging at SolarChargedDriving.Com, I’ve been pretty hard on gas hogging automobiles and Americans’ strong tendency to buy a lot of them.

News that light trucks accounted for 55% of new vehicle sales in the U.S. in December would seem like another prime opportunity to take another shot at American short-sightedness and selfishness.

But I’m not going to hop on the slam-the-gas-hog-buyers express this time.

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Why not?

Increasing average fuel economy
As much as I want to see America, and the rest of the world, take crucial measures such as increasing average fuel economy of new vehicles to 60 mpg or more as soon as possible, I can’t really blame Americans for buying big, gas hogging pick-up trucks and SUVs in large numbers.

That’s because gas is still outrageously cheap in the U.S. AND, although I haven’t seen a single EV advocate write about this, in case you haven’t noticed, gas prices have been steadily dropping.

Here in Colorado, the price for a gallon of gas is 50 cents cheaper than it was just six months ago, having dropped from a high of about $3.49 per gallon to just below $3 per gallon.

While there have been spikes in gas prices historically in the U.S., most notably the rise that preceded the 2008 financial crisis, the bigger picture has been one of comparatively and consistently cheap gasoline in the U.S. for more than two decades.

Could this change?

Iranian blockade of Gulf?
Sure, for example, as quick as you can say Iran and Strait of Hormuz blockade!

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But the fact of the matter is that for all the sky-is-falling rhetoric (a big mea culpa here) of EV advocates, environmentalists, national security-ists, etc. , so far the sky has not fallen and gas prices have not shot through the roof in the U.S.

So, while some of us might think it’s short-sighted and selfish that 55% of Americans plunking down money for a new car are snatching gas-guzzling light trucks, in the end, who can blame them?

With the notable exception of the late 1970s, which saw the great Arab Oil Embargo, the historical record has generally been on their side, and, quite clearly, not on the side of chicken-little shriekers such as me and most of the other EV advocates out there.

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