Regardless of whether you are driving a brand new Lexus or a twelve year old Chevy Lumina with chipped paint and cigarette holes in the upholstery, you may want to pamper it as if it were a bottle of Chateau Lafite 1959. Why? Because on December 19 President Bush signed into law a bill requiring automobile manufaturers to increase fuel economy to 35 MPG by 2020. When politicans begin to see themselves as auto design engineers, it may be an early indicator of the coming Apocalypse.
In order to achieve this mandated goal, carmakers will have to radically alter car designs. Those big powerful sedans and Suv's that we Americans love will become relics of the past, like rumbleseats and Betamax VCR's. Instead, those fuel efficient vehicles will have to be smaller and lighter. Translated, that means slower, cramped and more dangerous. The next time you're at a stoplight and a Mini Cooper pulls up next to you, take a long hard look, because it's the future of automobiles.
Sure, hybrids will take up some of the slack, but you'll be paying a premium for them. And when you have no choice but to pump ethanol into your tank, be prepared to pay more and get less mileage than gasoline.
The ultimate goal is certainly a laudable one: Be less energy dependent on the unstable oil Mullahs in the Middle East; yet there is a way to do it without sacrificing our lifestyle, pocketbooks and automobile safety. We must ignore the shrill and radical rants of the environmental left and begin drilling for our own oil. We can make huge steps toward energy independence simply by utilizing the vast oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico and the Anwr reserves in Alaska. Geologists estimate that the oil beneath the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge may be second in size only to the reserves in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest repository of petroleum. For those concerned about despoiling nature, it should be pointed out that extracting the oil would require only 8% of the 19 million acres of the Alaskan Refuge.
Until we come to our senses and devise a rational energy policy, you better treat the family car with more consideration than a prom date.