It should be rather clear by now that the average United States consumer has little concern for vehicle mileage when purchasing a car; at least, that is, until the price of gasoline is absolutely oppressive. And, tax incentives for hybrid vehicles and the like make little difference too. Doing what is "right" for the environment just does not seem to matter either.
So, how do we encourage people to save gasoline and purchase high-MPG cars over larger, more powerful models? Simple...
Mileage Incentives that Consumers
can Understand and Appreciate
I was just thinking about this the other day, and the answer became quite clear to me. The average person needs something TANGIBLE and right "there and now" to remind them why they chose to save gasoline with a high-miles-per-gallon vehicle, and the answer is this:
Sure, going faster will burn a (bit) more gasoline, but not much. I do not believe the hogwash that every 5MPH increase in speed decreases mileage 10 percent, because I have tested this with every car I have owned and have seen negligible impact from even a 10MPH difference in average speed over the same driving course of enough length to test completely. Not to mention, that bit of false information implies that if you doubled your speed, you would essentially get zero gas mileage. Ridiculous! And, regardless, people would be STILL be saving gasoline in a large way on the highway (compared to their current cars), and also consider how the "free pass to speed" is only valid on larger highways... the cars would save a LOT of gasoline everywhere else they are driven too.
So, come on government, incentive smaller, more efficient cars, in a way that the average consumer can quickly understand and embrace. When that consumer walks into the showroom and looks at the tiny little car that can get 50 or 60MPG, and then, with great surprise, again asks the salesperson: "So, you are telling me that if I buy THIS car, I can drive 15MPH (or 20?) over the posted speed limit on all Interstates and 4-lane highways, without getting a ticket for it?...(yes)... you are sure?... (yes)... I WILL TAKE ONE NOW!". Can you imagine how many people with long commutes, or traveling salespersons, etc., would want to suddenly save on gasoline by getting a high-MPG car?
Food for thought people... just thinking out of the box a bit. Though, dreaming is more like it :)