The Changing Face of Motoring in America

To enjoy the greatest highway system on the planet, car manufacturers worldwide offer Americans the widest array of vehicles ever available.
Ironically, with the most and best roads, U.S. buyers have made “off-road” buggies their most popular cars. Technically classified as trucks, these van/utility cars, are today’s station wagons, like it or not, and few of them ever leave the pavement.
Cars excite Americans more than any other creation of mankind. Nothing else man has invented stirs our soul on such a visceral level as the automobile. That is why we take driving so seriously, especially when it is done for pure fun. Almost nothing excites us more than the tacit promise of adventure when seeing, touching and driving a sleek, high performance car. A brisk drive on a winding road over mountains, or across vast, wind-swept desert dunes, can be more exhilarating than any other experience, and nothing can do that for us like our automobile.
The current status of independent automobile travel being curtailed by environmental concerns and responsible citizenship has the potential to put serious limitations on our prized pastime, but there is hope, if we can, as consumers, convince the auto industry to move ahead with electric powered cars.
The best way to send such a message is to use pocket book ballots in voting for a change by purchasing the hybrid cars offered today. This will show industry bean-counters that proliferating profits are possible with alternatives to the old oil orientation.
The lack of recognition of consumer needs by Detroit is responsible for domestic auto makers losing more than half of the U.S. market to imports, and if they do not change, overseas manufacturers will gain even greater market share by leading the way with electrics in the foreseeable future.
Already, electric hybrids are in Tulsa showrooms of Honda, Lexus, Toyota, Ford and Saturn with others arriving soon. We are testing several of these, and will be publishing our evaluations in the near future. Go by and test one of these vehicles for a new experience, drive wise. ?

EDITORS NOTE: Automobile designer Jerry Cumbus, based in Bristow, is director of Automotive Research Center, a national association of auto designers, engineers and drivers.

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