While I’m ranting about consumer respect and sovereignty, another area in which we get no respect is in our automobile choices. For instance, this CNN/Money article discusses how it’s Detroit’s fault that we consume so much oil, foreign or domestic:
Two environment groups — the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Detroit Project — argue that America needs an SUV that can get 40 miles per gallon, but say the problem is that “Detroit won’t build it.” …
“Detroit is waving a white flag instead of an American flag. They have surrendered the battle for energy security,” said NRDC attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. “It’s time for sensible standards that put existing technology on the road in every car, truck and SUV.”
How come it’s always the fault of the suppliers? You know why Detroit won’t build it? Because they can’t sell it, yet, at a price that we are willing to pay! The eco-scolds (to steal Lileks’ term) give no credence to the fact that when someone chooses a vehicle, we are choosing a bundle of attributes. One of those attributes is fuel efficiency, but we weigh that against storage and carrying capacity, high-end and low-end torque, acceleration, style, and comfort.
Give consumers our due, and respect the fact that our choices best suit our preferences. If these preferences change, as they have over the past three decades in many ways, you can be sure that Detroit will satisfy them. They may not be as expeditious about it as other auto producers, as we found in the 1970s with Toyota and Honda. But that’s what competition is about. If they don’t satisfy our wants at prices we’re willing to pay, they will get bitten in the wallet.