High Gas Prices Aren’t All Bad

With luck, perhaps they’ve finally put the nail in the coffin of those goddamned SUVs once and for all:

Rising Gas Prices Finally Kill The Once-Mighty SUV | Autopia from

Need more proof the SUV is a goner? Ford’s venerable F150 pickup ended its 17-year-run as the best-selling vehicle in America last month, dethroned by the Honda Civic and three other Japanese sedans. General Motors is looking to unload Hummer, the epitome of gas-guzzling excess, after sales fell 60 percent in May. The number of Civics sold in one month exceed the number of Hummers GM expects to sell all year.

Now, the question is: does this mean an increase in production of more fuel-efficient cars? My continuing chagrin with my car manufacturer of choice, Saturn, has been that they only make two hybrids: a hybrid SUV and a luxury car. I appreciate the effort, but spending the extra dough for a hybrid only to get 35MPG is hardly worth the trouble. I’m getting about that now.

So I’m beginning to look elsewhere, with my term on my current vehicle edging ever closer to completion. And by “elsewhere,” I mean something other than American cars. The trouble is that, while I’m hardly one to be defined by my car, there’s a certain lack of – oh, let’s just call it “testicular fortitude” – in the available options. The Prius has gotten better looking as it goes on, but a $25k price tag makes it hard to take. Not impossible, though. The new India-produced TaTa (to be marketed as the “Mini-Cat,” its English translation, in the States) looks like it might be OK, but what the hell is up with the 1Lakh? And the “Smart Car?” It’s only smart if your working towards a life of celibacy. And while I lived in the city, I considered buying a Vespa scooter until I realized I’d look like an English schoolmarm with a hickory switch up her keister.

As a person whose favourite car of all time was the Dodge Shadow, I hardly require a “penis-mobile” of any variety. But come on! These things just make you look stupid driving around in/on them. The manufacturers are doing the environment and the world economy a great service by even producing these vehicles, but they’d be doing an even greater service if they made the vehicles just a little bit more approachable for the average American.

But then, vehicles that appeal to an American sensibility would be more likely if American producers would produce the vehicles, wouldn’t they?

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.