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Stop the Auto Insanity!

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Listening to the pundits on several stations, even normally more intelligent PBS this weekend, I nearly burst a blood vessel.

People paid to have intelligent opinions or at least to inform the public actually debated whether Americans would even BUY fuel efficient cars now that they were mandated by federal standards.

What part of "mandated" and "standards" couldn't these idiots understand? I didn't hear a single interviewer ask the only pertinent question of these "experts."

What I would have asked is, if you don't think they will buy fuel efficient cars, how do you think they will get around? Walk?

IF car makers have to have a certain overall fleet fuel average then doesn't that mean that they can only make and sell a mix of cars which meet that standard?

Will American soccer moms all of a sudden take to Harleys and 10-speeds?

Sure, people who drive pickups in the city to be "cool" or simply to get a cheaper vehicle because traditionally trucks had fewer standards to meet, will complain loudly that they can't buy a V-10 pickup to park in their suburban driveway, but that misses the point - what will they do if they can't buy a giant Chevy Suburban or Dodge RAM pickup?

Of course! They will buy what is being sold.

The fools who say Americans won't buy small and/or fuel efficient cars apparently haven't thought about what people WILL do if they don't buy what is being sold.

Some will keep older vehicles going longer, drive less, and generally be more sensible - all of which is also known as "conservation." Compared to building a new car, even an electric one, having a few million gas guzzlers stay on the road another year or two is nothing.

But most people who don't or can't tinker with their own vehicle will do what they have always done - troop down like sheep to their nearest car dealer and buy what is being advertised most heavily.

If those are SUVs that weigh 4 tons, get 8 mpg and can go 120 mph in third gear, then that is what many of them will buy.

But if big pickup truck sales are restricted to businesses (including small farms) then what Jane and Joe suburbia WILL buy is a 30-40 mpg compact car or small van with airbags all around and they will feel safe because most other cars on the road will be the same size.

So, yes, Americans will, as Churchill famously said, eventually do the right thing (after trying everything else.)

And, why not? If you need to occasionally haul something big, rent a truck, or use a small trailer.

Having a big fast car isn't actually a right protected by The Constitution - as short a time ago as when my mother was born there were almost no paved roads in this country and only the very rich had any car or truck.

Conservation is truly becoming a way of life simply because the alternative is clearly becoming the way of death. When we use up this planet just where were YOU planning to move to?

John McCormick is a reporter, /science/medical columnist and finance and social commentator, with 17,000+ bylined stories. Contact John through NewsBlaze.

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