Americans say they want fuel economy but sales show otherwise

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Americans say they want vehicles with better fuel economy, but what they’re actually buying tells a whole different story.

In surveys, Americans are in favor of forcing automakers to boost the fuel efficiency of cars. As a result, the industry has reached a deal with the feds to raise fuel efficiency to just under 55 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025.

Yet at a time when we faced high gas prices most of this year, the average fuel economy for cars sold in September was 22 mpgs, according to a variety of sources like The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and TrueCar.com.

So the reality is that even at almost $4 for a gallon of gas, people still buy vehicles that drink a lot of fuel!

I’m just weeks away from getting an all-electric car. It’s not a great idea financially or from a practical standpoint. In fact, I’ll have to watch a range meter to make sure I don’t run out of charge and break down by the side of the road. But I’m happy to do it.

Our culture is not exactly about driving small vehicles. So the good news is automakers have a new arsenal of technology that will allow larger vehicles to get substantially better fuel economy. This will be a slow, steady increase, of course. It’s not like overnight we’re going to energy independent from OPEC.

My idea for energy independence is a wholly unpopular one: A sky-high gas tax. If you’re paying much, much, much more for gas, you suddenly care about fuel economy and how often you drive.



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