Is it really all about the price of gas?
You would think that it is while reading this piece in the NYT.
In it questions Obama’s ability to push through with his agenda on getting Americans into smaller engined cars – and the lobbying that could come out of this to stop it. But who are the lobbyists going to lobby? It could be that they concentrate on the Republican side of the house, but will stopping Obama’s agenda do them any good?
Americans for such a long time have stuck with the cars they drive now – yet, it has to be said that over the last few years there is a change in purchases. Many have gone to the foreign car makers because, simply put, those cars are better.
I have blogged about how I cannot understand why here, in Canada, smaller engined cars are not promoted, but to promote something you have to have it to promote – and that hasn’t been the case. A small engine, more fuel efficient just isn’t available. And that isn’t Canada’s fault, for the most part.
With the cost of fuel now dropping like a bomb, many are saying that people will just go back to driving the SUV because – well, cheap gas. But this time I do think that thing are a little different. True, cheap gas is here again, but so is a great recession/depression – that is keeping people on their toes and they know that their job could be on the line and they don’t want to take one extra risk.
What you also have is the fact that banks have, or are about to be given, billions of dollars and will not lend that out for cars to be bought on credit. Certainly not in the squandering many that has happened in the last few years.
So, can Obama push his agenda through – I think he can. People are not feeling a percieved fear now, they are seeing it first hand and they know it is plainly real.
Obama and his cabinet, like so many other governments, have the aces – if the lobbyists try to baulk a deal, then Obama can, justifiably, tax the bigger, gas guzzling monsters off the road. There are various ways from an increased Federal sales tax, to having registering of the thing each year and paying hundreds of dollars to do so. That way you target that and those vehicles rather than throwing a price hike on gas at the pump – but even that should not be taken off the table.
The American auto-makers do have a time line to complete what Obama wants – and I don’t think it will be the ten years that some are thinking about. That ten years is for a viable alternative to gas – and I do think that the auto-makers know that.