Bigger is better, part 4

I have to return to my pet peeve of big cars.

Let me start 12 years back when I moved to California.  A gallon of gas was like $1.10.  A whole tank for my small VW cost me less that $15.  Then all sorts of bad stuff happened and gas prices were up to almost $4.60 per gallon in mid-2008.  Had I told my SUV-owning friends in 2000 that it would come to this they would have thought me crazy.

People were shell-shocked as they had come to expect cheap gas as their natural right.  Gas prices declined to somewhere between $2.50 and $2.80.  “For Sale” signs started to show up on SUVs and pick-up trucks, smaller cars started to sell better and the incorrigible optimists among us thought that – finally – something had clicked, that people did understand that those gas guzzlers guzzled too much gas and that a small car serves the purpose: moving people from A to B.

I was naive.  Even with as prices up again to almost $3.40 and further price increases likely to happen the car sales statistics for 2010 tells us in no uncertain terms that Americans taken as a whole want big cars, unreasonably big cars – at any price.  $3 + per gallon would have scandalized  people a decade ago but has now become the new “cheap”.

My evidence: the best selling vehicle in 2010 – vehicle, not truck – was the Ford F-150, a monster of a pick-up truck.  Ford sold 391,219 of the trucks, a 38% increase from 2009.   Number 2 was the Toyota Camry, the long-time number 1 up until 2009, and in third position the Chevrolet’s Silverado 1500 – another monster.

With high unemployment, stagnant if not declining wages, high gas prices, a shaky economy, dwindling oil reserves, a huge oil spill in the Golf of Mexico (seems almost forgotten by now) people go out and – buy trucks!

Somebody please explain this to me!!

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