Efficient Cars Are Cool
In the future we’ll all be driving efficient cars. It will be socially unacceptable to drive a car with bad fuel economy. You’ll be looked down upon like you’re an uncultured caveman. Your friends will talk about you behind your back. When you park your gas guzzler on the road it could be attacked by green extremists. Driving efficient cars is slowly turning into the new cool.
A lot of people think this change in social thinking is further along than I do. I think its still early days. The day of not being able to drive your V8 for fear of ridicule is not here yet and I don’t think it will happen for a while. I actually don’t think we’re as green as we like to think we are. I think we’re fundamentally selfish and still think of ourselves, not of the planet.
One example of our selfishness is when fuel prices shot up about a year ago. Sales of V8 cars in Australia rose to all time highs. Initially this seems counter intuitive but people were worried it was the last time they could own a car with a V8 engine. They thought this for two reasons. First, with seemingly no end in sight to the rising gas prices they figured if they don’t buy a V8 with bad fuel efficiency now they might not be able to afford to do so in the future. Secondly, people thought that car makers might stop building V8 cars altogether.
Currently when we think about efficient cars I believe we’re thinking about our wallet. Internet searches for “efficient cars” rise and fall as gas prices rise and fall. We’re thinking about saving cash not saving the planet. When gas prices are low we’re fairly happy with our inefficient cars. I honestly think the majority of people wouldn’t purchase efficient cars for the planets sake alone.
When the Toyota Prius first came out a few years ago, movie stars and entertainers bought lots of them. Because they wanted to save planet Earth? Not for most, whose garages also contained Hummers and Ferrari’s with awful car fuel mileage. They did it because it was suddenly the cool thing to do. And this has driven efficient cars to new heights in terms of coolness. If you look around the largest cities in the world, the young and wealthy are often driving the latest hybrid or small fuel efficient car. Efficient vehicles are becoming extremely cool.
Sales of efficient cars are going to continue to climb compared to total car sales. This will be because of rising fuel prices of course, but in addition there’s going to be a social shift in thinking which makes it socially unacceptable to drive uneconomical cars. Rather than this social shift occurring because people want to save the planet, I think for most of us it will be because we don’t want to appear uncool to our peers! Either way the end result will be sales of more efficient cars which is great for the environment.
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