The Great Automobile Placebo
The recovery act apparently saved our economy and many of the traditional pillars of our economy, like the automobile industry. Part of the recovery act was a commitment to save these pillars plus a commitment to alternative energy, alternative fuels and alternative energy vehicles
Saving our auto industry and then re-visioning it, harnessing the economic power of this industrial machine toward a the mythical sustainable future of a green economy, was a glorious ideal. The innovative, incredible modern electric car (actually a very old idea) was born! Taxpayer money and terrific political clout and a healthy dose of hyperbole and stunning hype created the mythical car(s) of the future, the Chevy Volt, the Nissan leaf and….all the other cars that can go less than about 100 miles per charge.
Hurrah! Government, collaborating (funding the whole mess) with industry, is finally making a breakthrough!!!
Did you take the pill? Did you feel better, for a while? It was certainly exciting, full of lofty promotions and big advertisement splashes (did we pay for that? I bet we did). I even think there was a Car of the Year award for a car that could do errands in California, but risking leaving one stranded at the mall due to improper battery planning. “Excuse me, can I plug into your store for about an hour or two so I can get home. My nifty new car is dead and AAA can’t get me some gas, becasue I can’t use it?”
This is an old pill, an old placebo, designed to make those who don’t know any better think there is progress. The Placebo Pill we have been offered is a Consumer Confidence Placebo. We are offered the pill to make us feel better about a situation that can’t yet actually be cured. But, given enough pills, we will probably feel better…for a while, until we realize it was a sugar pill – all hype, no substance.
This is an old trick. The auto companies are experts at it and are prepared to spend billions of dollars (particularly if it is taxpayer dollars) to “invest in the future” and bring us something new, when in reality, the future is a sham, something to distract from the reality at hand, to delay, to obfuscate, to bumfuzzle the public and everyone else into believing they are really changing the industry, when in fact, the industry, nor the public really want to change at all. Their investment in a sham has a better ROI than an investment in change. US consumers will buy big stupid cars until they get hit with $7 gas. Gas rose, habits changed.. a bit, Gas went down, and gas guzzlers were right back in the mainstream.
The real goal is real change, now. Change that we can consume and have confidence in. Change which allows us to change our habits and resource utilization right now. The public want change they can believe in. The placebo has worn off, with the automobile companies, the pill companies, the government and just about everyone else attached to the traditional ways of transportation.
So when gasoline climbs to $6-7 dollar per gallon, the placebo will become crystal clear and everyone will be trapped into paying for the gas, making payments on cars that have not been improved and left with energy inflation that makes ineffective electric cars totally impractical and unaffordable.
We all know incredibly fuel efficient cars are feasible here and now. But the auto manufacturers, the subsidized fuel suppliers, and the rest of the infrastructure doesn’t want to invest in change. Delay and obfuscate is a better investment that actually building a better car.
People are still promoting ethanol, which is simply a waste of time. It only works when subsidized. It’s bad for engines, It hurts the global economy and has inflated the food supply. It’s a sham and has been for 20 years. there is an emerging additives industry to protect your car from the damaging effects of ethanol.
Wait for the next round of fuel efficient cars. It will happen after oil prices go high enough to siphon off our US wealth to other sovereign nations and the truth will eventually settle in, and the costs and profits associated with financing a new round of fuel efficient cars will be ready.
No political or corporate entity has any real economic or business incentive to provide the US consumer with the types of vehicle we really need, because they don’t make as much money, provide as many taxes or support the infrastructure that maintains the political donations that support our government.
Buy a prius or a Honda or other capable hybrid. You will save a fortune, have a good car and will break the pattern of the great automotive placebo.
We own a Prius and get 42.5 mpg. The numbers speak for themselves. $60 round trip from san Diego to Las Vegas. Round trip.
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