Saturday, February 16, 2008

We Are So Screwed

If you want to know how screwed we are, consider this- for about 20 years Europeans have been making modern cars that get around 60 mpg. The American auto industry has hid behind "safety regulations".

Now there is vague talk of maybe getting 40 mpg with American cars, or even (be still, my heart!) raising the CAFE to 30 mpg. Well, while we're doing that, the Europeans will be going for 70 or 80 or 90 mpg.

Americans are saying, well, maybe automatic guideway systems in the road will substitute for mass transit, because the cars will move ever so much faster.

But if there's any rational place for cars in the modern economy, the Europeans will be cleaning our clock with gas mileage double ours per capita. And it's not like they lose this advantage by the amount our population exceeds theirs- on the contrary, if we have more people, we have more marginal expense.

If we can't wake up and smell the coffee, it's not going to be pretty.

1 comment:

Jen Clark said...

When I was living in Germany, they had this cool little thing called the Smart Car. It was small, but I loved it. You could parallel park by driving into a space. It got amazing gas mileage and actually went pretty fast. I couldn't believe something like this existed but wasn't available in the United States. When you hear the word "free trade" being thrown around all the time, theoretically for us, shouldn't this allow us to have better products because we can get them from anywhere in the world?

Anyway, I digress. A week ago, after 5 years, I finally saw the Smart Car on an American freeway. I was so excited! It was about friggin' time! But then my engineer boyfriend that loves Popular Mechanics told me that the Smart Car in America has an old-fashioned engine in it - the kind that gets crappy gas mileage. Essentially, you can get a Smart Car in the United States now but it's purely cosmetic. It's not the real thing.

This is completely logically backwards. If we allow this to continue, you are right, we will be screwed.

The thing is though that it doesn't have to continue. Just because we believe this will be future, it doesn't make it true. We can impeach. We can put corporate criminals in jail. We can get new leadership. We can have democracy. We just need to get people to realize what they are up against. Once people understand what is happening to them, they will be more aptly prepared to defend themselves against it.

Don't lose hope yet. Keep doing what you're doing with your blogging and your talking- just try and do it more and get other people to do it to.