Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Free in the eye of the beholder

A recent article in Yahoo News about California suing car companies:

Adoption of diesel engine emissions technology or gasoline- electric hybrids comes at great cost and improving gas mileage also likely means smaller lighter vehicles, trade-offs that are not attractive to consumers, he added.

"These are not free technologies, they are very expensive," Cole said. "Most people are price sensitive."

If most people are price sensitive, why aren't the manufacturers making cheap cars? Car manufacturers could eliminate some 'luxury features', and substitute in a more efficient engine, and sell the car at the same cost. Why not let consumers decide whether greater fuel efficiency or a CD changer is more valuable. Why are there no hybrid wagons or mini-vans? And why do they think people don't like smaller or lighter? (Are there any recent high-quality light-weight cars?)

Automakers have done very little to improve the actual driving technology, and have instead focused on adding all sorts of extra features within a pretty much standard car design. It is about time for a revolution in transportation.