Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Auto bailout redux (giving them what they want)

During the past several weeks of Big Three bashing, the media has amplified the regular drumbeat of criticism against the carmakers--that they have not been producing what American consumers wanted.

Like many other myths that are perpetuated because most people are too lazy to do a little investigation, the idea that Americans somehow want little shoebox cars, powered by rubber bands, after years of buying SUV's and full-size pickups seems preposterous at best. Yet, that never stops the media from running this out at every opportunity.

Let's look at the numbers, however.

While certain drivers think that driving a Toyota Prius is worthy of a gold star, sales of SUVs and pickups have bounced back. As gas prices have plunged, so too have the sales of hybrids. Keep in mind that in 2005, SUVs outsold hybrids 23 to 1. Even with an uptick in 2006, why hybrid sales increased by 28 percent, they only accounted for 1.5 percent of all cars sold in the U.S.

An interesting read on the subject of energy independence that's worth reading just because it runs counter to so much of the blather coming from all media corners is Robert Bryce's Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Indepence," which I happened to review at Working in Maine.

If Congress wants to ensure that GM, Chrysler, and Ford survive, they might want to reconsider mandating hybrids, and plug-in electrics, like the Chevy Volt.

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