When we jump into our vehicles day in and day out, typically we just want to get to where we need to be. Some do so with style; some do so out of being practical. Most of us know that we want the least cost for each ride. Our progress and productivity up the ante on how we choose to travel.
Ten years ago I chose to travel across the country via a truck. My truck had an appalling fuel efficiency – at best 15 miles to the gallon. At that time that was about $100 per fill up per tank for each stop along the 1776 mile journey. Similar new moving trucks today, while lighter and made more efficiently, are still unbelievably only offering 15 miles to the gallon! The 10 years of vehicle advances have not translated to benefit a typical cross country move by truck.
This past July 4th holiday, I once again chose to explore the country from behind the wheel. This time the cross country journey was in a 37 mile to the gallon hybrid. Range anxiety was not my worry – but true distance and efficiency was. The little Lexus cT200h gave me a distance between fueling of 400 miles. The most spent was $26.10/tank. Needless to say I was elated. Why other’s refuse to understand how alternatives make sense is not beyond me. It is likely not beyond you either. The choice is a personal one.
Our choices have caused America to beat a continued drum for better, faster and cheaper. What we have received is a low cost oil economy where short term domestic supply and reserves have exceeded original forecasted shortages. Keeping oil pricing down is advantageous for us all in the short-term. Known reserves will one day be consumed. Managing that rate of consumption is an absolute need – one that can be encouraged at the personal level. Unfortunately a diversified energy plan by any of our political leaders is far from complete. Yet American companies have in 10 years put in place effective alternatives to allow consumers options at the pump. Our choices only came about because of government involvement and corporate bankruptcies.
These options have also opened a global debate on the future of an oil based and dirty fuel based society. Dirty fuels are becoming cheap to force competition amongst alternatives. Clean sources of energy are up and running not just in California or New Jersey but throughout the heartland. The technology used to make our fuel consumption fall while getting us further along in our journey is the key to individual and corporate profits. Today’s actual EPA vote for stricter rules on coal production and this week’s earnings results for major automotive companies is evidence of this.
The political climate that citizens must drive is one based on fact not typical media pandering. Tesla’s Elon Musk has made all auto manufacturers take note. His vehicles have proven publicly and consistently that range anxiety can be overcome. His model has made demand at the luxury level shift to where BMW, GM and others offer alternatives that are electric. Ultimately, each company will have to offer a product that is affordable, stylish and useful for the consumer to make a difference as they go about their daily journey building their American dream.