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!!