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President's Ponderings: Cars and Choices

By Edward Luttrell - President's Ponderings Blog (12/9/10)

  DECEMBER 13, 2010 --

I read an article this week that I found intriguing as I am one of those car guys. The headline screamed, “Car of the future won’t be cheap” in Monday’s USA Today.
The article stated that cars could cost thousands more than the buyers would ever save in fuel costs. Smaller and less powerful cars that cost more in order to increase fuel economy seem be the order of the day.

President Obama’s ambitious goals of 47 to 62 mpg by 2025 will change our choices of vehicles. Just as the station wagon become virtually extinct after the introduction of CAFE standards in the 1970’s, the types of vehicles available to Americans will once again be restricted if history repeats itself.

The article compared the Chevy Cruze starting at less than $20,000 with the Chevy Volt at $41,000 to demonstrate the cost differences between conventional fuel-efficient gas car and an electric car. While I am all for fuel efficiency and reducing the amount of pollution generated by motor vehicles, I believe that political agendas should not trump consumer needs and demands. We also need to consider the reality of electricity as it isn’t free and it isn’t always non-polluting as you need to take into account how that power was produced.

In addition automotive executives stated that they would like gas taxes raised to ensure $4, $5, or $6 a gallon gas prices. At that level of fuel costs they believed that these proposed high cost vehicles will be far more attractive to consumers. What a shock, obviously they believe that when gas become unaffordable, people will need alternatives. This does make for an interesting business plan.

Rural America does not need more disadvantages. Transporting our families or hauling household or farm items are common activities for everyone in rural areas. I can’t speak for everyone, but there are a lot of us who don’t want to live in town. We want to live in a rural community and we understand that there are benefits and costs associated with that choice.

I love having choices. With cars, I enjoy driving my Impala and when I pass a Smart Car, I am glad they chose it and that I have other choices. It is important that our government not take our choices away either by direct action or by indirectly forcing companies to eliminate our selections.

The car of the future must not become a luxury item that many can not afford. Living in the community of our choice must also remain a viable option. These two statements are intertwined in rural America. Having choices are necessary for all!


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