Select Page

I always take polls with a grain of salt.  Still, this one astounded me.   Consumerist reported that 87% of Americans surveyed think that automakers should do more to improve fuel economy.  The first thought that crossed through my mind when I read this was “Hypocrites!”

All For Increased Fuel Economy

Don't get me wrong.  I'm all for better fuel economy.  I've been driving for about 25 years now (Yikes!) and the advancements in fuel technology have been remarkable. I know that even before that things came a long way from the fuel guzzlers of the past.

Image via Morguefile courtesy of gracey

I think many of the technologies are great.  Automakers build better engines.  They use lighter materials.  They make things run more efficiently.  Aerodynamics are improved.  It all works together so that vehicles use less fuel.

It's pretty cool.  And I have no doubt that the innovations will continue.

So why am I shaking my head?  Read on.

How Some Consumers Are Hypocrites

As I mentioned above, I've been driving for 25 years.  With the exception of one period when we hit gas prices around $3-$4 per gallon, Americans keep drifting more toward SUVs and trucks, and away from cars.

Chevrolet really improved the Malibu and yet sales continue to drop year over year.  Ford never even considered building their latest Focus here, instead deciding between Mexico and China for production.

The bottom line, people keep gravitating away from cars and into bigger vehicles.  Ones that, of course, get a lot worse fuel economy.

It makes me wonder, how many people that responded to this survey have moved up to a bigger SUV or truck recently?  Guessing by the numbers, it would seem an awful lot.  I think that's somewhat hypocritical.

These people are basically putting 100% of the responsibility on the automakers, and none on the consumer.

That's just a bit head shaking to me.

Consumers Have Responsibility, Don't They?

It seems that if consumers continue to choose bigger and bigger automobiles instead of smaller, more fuel efficient choices, that they hold some responsibility here.  The average fuel economy would be a lot higher if even 10% of the people that chose SUVs chose a passenger car instead.  It seems to me that right there would go a long way toward improving fuel economy.

I get that a lot of people have legitimate reasons for moving to a bigger vehicle.  I'm not saying there isn't a need.  Heck, I'm one of them as I got a bigger truck since we tow our RV.  But, I knew going in that I was decreasing my personal fuel economy.  And, if I'd been one of those surveyed, I'd have definitely not put 100% of the responsibility at the feet of the automakers.

A little self awareness goes a long way, don't you think?

Readers, what do you think about the survey results?  Do you agree that some people are a bit hypocritical or is there an angle I'm missing?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.