A joke so old it was current when we said “Hillbilly” instead of “Redneck:”
Dang! Ats some hole ya got in ya roof. Don’t it rain in a lot?
Uh-huh. Leaks like a bastard.
How come ya don’t fix it?
When it’s rainin’ it’s too wet to work and when it ain’t rainin' the roof don’t leak.
Sure enough, the drop in gas prices has started a fall-off in hybrid car sales, repeating a pattern of dumbth I’ve seen over and over since the early seventies. Human nature being what it is, males want their cars to brag “Mine is bigger than yours,” and females want to announce “I’m more fashionable than you are.” Bigger and fashionabler means S.U.V.s, bastard offspring of trucks and sedans, and cushy knockoffs of armored vehicles for guys who never gave up their GI Joe toys.
Granted, people have a God-given, Constitution-sanctioned fundamental right to be dumb, so what’s the problem? The next time gas prices skyrocket, they’ll just be stuck again with gas guzzlers. So ha-ha-ha on them.
Problem is, this time is different from those other times when falling fuel prices let us lapse from green virtue back into monoxide vice.
This time, the Detroitosaurs are so close to extinction that they absolutely must develop new technology to make them competitive again – technology like hybrids, electrics, and fuel-sipping conventional engines. They can no longer be allowed to argue, “Hey, we make all our money from trucks and big S.U.V.s, and right now we’re desperate for money, right?”
This time the world’s main fuel sources, like the Middle east, Russia, Venezuala, et al, are so undependable and, lately, so hostile that we cannot depend on them for fossil fuels; and no matter what special interests claim about natural gas, clean coal, offshore drilling, and sucking Alaska dry of oil, we do not have the resources to supply our own fuels for more than a very short time.
Somehow, we must penetrate the public dumbth; we must get through with a real simple message: it doesn’t matter what fuel prices do in the future. What matters is rebuilding our economy, gaining our energy independence, and protecting our planet.
Warning: non-profit promo ahead.
My dearly beloved Mazda MPV was withdrawn from the market for a few years and I mourned its passing. Now it’s back as the Mazda 5, still driving like a sport sedan, still six passenger, still with safe, convenient sliding rear doors, still 14 inches shorter than a Chrysler Town and Country, and still under $25K for the luxury leather model.
Only now its EPA highway rating is 27 mpg. That’s thirty seven percent better than my MPV! Clearly, Mazda has got the clue. For all our sakes, we must force Detroit to get it too.