21 July 2008


Recently I read an apologist of the auto industry, perhaps an executive, defend its conduct over the years vis-a-vis the fuel efficiency of the American fleet. He cooly stated that the magical "Market" dictates what gets sold to consumers.

Certainly strategies to improve fuel efficiency that take consumers into account is critical. But the auto manufacturers know that advertising is an important part of the mix. Recently a TV ad caught my attention, when at the beginning I heard the voiceover say, "More fuel-efficient engine...", but then it finished by saying "...390 horsepower"! So, is this part of the consumer strategy of the automakers: to sell a more fuel-efficient behemoth? Is this part of the "adjustment of our product offering," alluded to by the auto apologist? This is sad.

The automakers must share some of the blame for the mess we are in with an American fleet running on such insanely poor fuel efficiency. Remember, it was they who resisted CAFE standards. Next to share the blame comes political "leadership" in the U. S. which caved to the pressures of the automakers. Last are the American people themselves who had no one, including themselves, looking after their long-term interests, as contrasted to their short-term desires. It is they who must accept the greatest responsibility, because we did not sufficiently pressure our politicians to write legislation to force automakers to increase fuel efficiency gradually beginning years ago.

Poor, poor American public--too ignorant to understand and evidently too incompetent to watch after its own vital interests!

Who do we rely on now? The "invisible hand" of the "magical" Market again?--which really means no one to take responsibility. Conditions of nonresponsibility produce a magical mystery car, a behemoth on wheels

No comments: