Big Cars, Pitiful Mileage: How Forgetful We Are

Reader Contribution by Staff

I’ve been off TV for five or six months, working diligently day and night at my new educational center in east-central Missouri, The Evergreen Institute, where I teach classes on solar electricity, wind energy, green building, natural building and more. 

So, when I moved back to Colorado for the winter and had a few minutes of free time at night, I started to watch a little TV.

One of the first things I noticed was that the bulk of the car ads are extolling the virtues of big gas guzzlers, SUVs and big trucks. I’m hoping it is Detroit simply trying to dump their unsold gas guzzlers, but I fear it is their effort to persuade us — once again — that bigger is better.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that those ads featuring high mileage vehicles often “brag” about cars that get a whopping 24 to 30 miles per gallon.

I have two things to say about this situation. First, have we no memory at all? Have we all forgotten the economic kick in the pants that $4 per gallon gas delivered?

Let’s remember: As the global economy recovers, chances are gas consumption will rise, dramatically, backsliding us into the ugly, painful days of $4 a gallon gas. This, in turn, could stimulate another economic downturn.

Let’s use our brains for once. Don’t let anyone tell you that a car that gets 30 miles per gallon is fuel efficient.  Fuel efficient cars get 40 and 50 miles per gallon, even more. That’s the target we should be shooting for, and fast!  Let’s insist on it.