Anyone who has purchased a personal vehicle in the last 10 years, new or used, that doesn’t get at least 30 mpg on the highway has no room to complain about gas prices. Note that I’m not making a judgement about anyone’s use of any vehicle, no matter how abysmal its efficiency1, just their lack of leg to stand on when it comes to gas prices.
I’m all about personal freedom – buy whatever car you want – but I’m also about personal responsibility: if you bought a car for commuting with shitty gas mileage, that’s your fault. My 2004 hybrid gets between 40 and 45 mpg in hilly Seattle. Between the gas efficiency and how infrequently I drive my car (I commute by bus every day) I fill up the ~10 gallon tank once every 3 months.
I assert federal gas taxes should be more than double what they are now with the proceeds going to assist individuals with the purchase of fuel efficient vehicles. And I’m not talking about the ridiculously low bar for efficiency used in the “cash for clunkers” — 18 mpg is not an acceptably high bar.
Lowering gas prices is great political pandering, particularly in an election year, but is addressing the symptom, not the problem.
1 At least in this blog post.
One thought on “Gas prices aren’t high enough”
There’s only one minivan-like car on the market that gets 30 MPG highway, as far as I know, the Mazda 5. It’s a 6-seater, and we almost got one, but since the middle kid can’t yet buckle his car-seat belt we need to do it for him. That means we need to reach inside and have access to the kiddo. And the middle seats on the Mazda 5 neither remove nor fold into the floor, so it’s not really easy. Why a minivan? Well, we only need to transport 5, but there are no cars we’ve found that are wide enough to accomodate a booster seat, rear-facing child seat and front-facing child seat that our kids ride in, and have any room for a hand to actually click together a seat belt. (Also, my wife really likes sliding doors because it’s not possible for the kids to open them into e.g. another car or a concrete wall).
In addition, since the Mazda 5 has a small trunk, that means leaving objects like Costco stuff in the interior of the car. Unsecured objects are one of the most deadly things in a crash.
Mind you, I’d like gas prices to be higher, mostly because there’s not enough choice for a consumer like me who wants a car that’s just big enough, and doesn’t need it to go 0-60 in 10 seconds or less. But there do exist real reasons to choose a vehicle that is incapable of even the ridiculously low standard of 30 MPG highway.