Whether it is Iain Carson’s comment piece in today’s Guardian – Only stiff rules will drive car makers to see past the petrol – or GM’s likely sale of Hummer, there’s a point being missed across the board.
Most people are too busy complaining about turning timber waste into biofuel to see the wood for the trees.
If CO2 is the issue, and it’s certainly the political one, then it’s ridiculous that plug-in hybrids are suddenly viable simply because the oil price is high - it has dropped by nearly 10% over the last fortnight, incidentally.
If we all start recharging our electric vehicles at home, then the tax on and cost of electricity will rise enormously and we’ll end up buying incredibly cheap, second-hand V8 saloons.
A stable oil price would allow companies to make the correct long-term engineering investments without the suspicion that the market would change drastically and they’d have yet another expensive white elephant on their hands.
Lower drag coefficients reduce fuel consumption at cruising speeds and lower kerb weights reduce the fuel consumption in town. The Audi A2 was superbly on message, but too far ahead of the car-buying public.
Fortunately, both these design criteria improve the driving experience. They are, as it were, the writing on the wall. It’s a shame that – until now – only Mazda has been able to read it… and then sell the cars.