Americans just don’t get the efficient small car

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Energy efficient small cars, such as the new Fiat 500, are definitely not something that Americans seem to understand. They have still got the mind-set for the large, more often than not, gas guzzler.

The average American is in for a real great surprise when gas is getting more and more expensive and they no longer can afford to run the large car, or no car at all. Having to go over to human power and/or animal power could really be a serious hit for their psyche.

For too long have people, and not just in the USA, for in Britain it is not better really either on that front and the gas is more expensive than even the most expensive one in the States, been looking at ever bigger and “better” cars for more and more comfortable traveling at the expensive of their pockets, the environment and their health.

The new Fiat 500 is, in comparison to the US, a very good seller, so I understand, in Britain and that is where our two nations diverge to a great degree.

The small car is much more understood, though not by all, and this is also due to financial incentives in that the small engine sizes of the Fiat 500 and similar cars are tac exempt and have a much lower insurance premium, the other financial incentive is, obviously, their low fuel consumption. And the latter is extremely important with gas costing $8 and more a gallon in Britain now.

More and more commuters do, however, are also getting the fuel cost and other issues and are beginning to switch to alternatives to the car and this can be seen especially by the increasing amount of bicycles on roads and sidewalks.

As far as the average American not getting the small car, as in not understanding the need for it, the awakening, and a rude one at that, will be theirs. In some countries people have woken up already.

The American motorists believes that the status quo of relatively cheap and abundant gasoline will continue to exist and that they can carry on driving as they do today. The bad news that I have for them is, however, that the time of cheap and abundant oil is over. It is history and so, soon, will be cars with internal combustion engines.

And no, I very much doubt it that we will have an alternative in the various electric vehicles. They will not be up to the job, at least not in the same way as personal transportation goes.

The problem is that we have used more oil – and not just for fuel – in the last couple of decades than ever before in history and there is only so much oil, cheap, abundant, good quality oil, available. It is a finite resource but most of us have thought it would be an infinite one.

So, where do we go from here especially as the American motorist just does not understand the need for the small car; it does not sell in America?

The answer is... even faster towards the “extinction”, for lack of a better word, of oil as we know it and with it of life as we have known it for the last 50+ years.

And, my G-d, will it be a rude awakening...

© 2012