Change is in the Air, at Least at the Detroit Auto Show

If the new models and prototypes that appeared at the Detroit Auto Show this month are any indication, U.S. manufacturers are testing the waters of public opinion for growing interest in more efficient use of petroleum.
While many blame gas-hog automobiles for much of our dependence on increasingly expensive oil, that is equivalent to blaming guns for the high price of bullets! The auto industry, as virtually all-commercial enterprises, is money driven, and will follow the path seen as leading to greater profits.
It is therefore up to us, the buying public, to demonstrate our preference for products promoting more efficient use of petroleum. If Detroit’s bean counters could see greater profits in these products, GM, Ford and Chrysler would be making them in record numbers, today. As Pogo said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
Alternative fuel vehicles have been engineered, designed, built and tested under real world operating conditions and proven beyond question to perform better than present production cars and trucks, and clean up the environment as well. It is, however, the abject, foreboding fear of financial failure that keeps the management masterminds of Motor City from allocating funds to place them in production anytime soon.
In 2005, the California Fuel Cell Partnership organization sponsored a statewide rally to inform and educate the motoring public about the latest in fuel cell development. At that time, Al Weverstad, an executive director at GM Public Policy Center, said, “The fastest way to bridge from fuel cell demonstrations to actual commercial viability is through education and collaboration. The CaFCP illustrates the teamwork required by industry and government to help prime the pump and facilitate the transition to viable hydrogen related technologies.”
The only emission produced by the hydrogen-fueled engine is just plain H2O.
If car buyers aimed their enthusiasm for their favorite driving machine toward economy, purchasing less-thirsty thunder-chariots, we would be much closer to convincing the auto industry of our desire to throw off the yoke of oil dependence.
This month’s Detroit Auto Show has a number of new cars indicating they are listening. Go to your nearest hybrid model dealership and test one. It just might be more fun than you’d imagine, drivewise. ?



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