One might think that we, as a species, have an excellent collective memory, but every time that gasoline prices fluctuate, everyone goes nuts, in one way or another.
For example, when gasoline prices shot up in the mid-1970s in the United States, everyone went crazy. There were gasoline shortages and rationing, and suddenly everyone thought economy cars were a great idea. Later, when gasoline prices went down again, people started buying bigger cars and spending more money on gas. Prices go back up, and it’s a run on economy cars again.
With the introduction of hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles, people have even more choices with regards to economy cars. With gasoline prices dropping, some 40% in the last six months, some have asserted that people only buy hybrids because they “stink at math.” Interestingly, people haven’t been steering away from plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, in spite of the fact that they cost more to purchase. Apparently, $2 gasoline still can’t compare to 14¢ electricity! Additionally, no matter how low gasoline prices dip, emission levels don’t, which makes plug-ins the better choice.
Still, US President Obama says not to trust current gasoline prices, saying, “I would strongly advise American consumers to continue to think about how you save money at the pump because it is good for the environment, it’s good for family pocketbooks, and if you go back to old habits and suddenly gas is back at $3.50, you are not going to be real happy.” Really since have gasoline prices done anything but fluctuate?
Even if it was only for gasoline prices, I would say not to dump that Prius for an H3 just yet. Yet this is exactly what some analysts say is the reason for the slump in demand for economy cars. If you have any head about you at all, you’d realize there is no reason in the world, unless you’re planning world domination or need to haul a herd of bison, burning gallons of gasoline and pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is simply a waste. You might delight in paying for $2 gas now, but how can that possibly compare to the billions of dollars in subsequent climate change damages?