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Has The Oil Bubble Burst?

Maybe. These were clearly unsustainable prices--the only question was how long it would take them to drop. And what do you know? The market works:

Gas may be getting just a bit cheaper, but major changes in how Americans live and drive are already in motion.

Car buyers have been fleeing to more fuel-efficient models. U.S. sales of pickups and sport utility vehicles are down nearly 18 percent this year through June, while sales of small cars are up more than 10 percent.

While slashing production of more-profitable trucks and SUVs, automakers have been scurrying to build their most fuel-efficient models faster.

Toyota Motor Corp., which hasn't been able to keep up with demand for its 46-miles-per-gallon Prius hybrid, said last week it will start producing the Prius in the U.S. and suspend truck and SUV production to meet changing consumer demands.

Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. also have announced plans to increase small car production, and GM has said 18 of the 19 vehicles it is launching between now and 2010 are cars or crossovers.

And what do you know, they didn't do it because their intellectual superiors in Congress passed a law making them. They did it because gas was four bucks a gallon. Maybe people aren't the stupid sheep that technocrats think they are.


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john hare wrote:

The solution to the oil supply problem is simple and obvious. Coal burning cars. We've got a good supply right here in the US.

Daveon wrote:

Excellent, another "the oil bubble has burst" post.

This makes the 7th or 8th I can recall since we went above $40 a barrel where you said roughly the same thing.

Hope you're right this time but I suspect that we'll see another hike before the end of the summer and quite a few new records before this deflates.

They did it because gas was four bucks a gallon.

Of course you could have simply increased gas taxes prior to this and forced the change in behaviour that happened elsewhere earlier and with a more gradual lead in.

Of course, I do recall USian friends making jokes about how stupid small European cars looked.

Fletcher Christian wrote:


I imagine that some Americans do in fact think that small European cars (you know, the ones big enough to transport 4-5 adults in comfort but no bigger) look stupid.

I also suspect that most Europeans think typical American cars look stupid - and wasteful, and tasteless, and vulgar. Alright, maybe the typical American does need bigger cars than the typical European - after all, among major countries the USA is the obesity capital of the world - but does said typical American car need four feet of metal behind and six feet in front of the passenger compartment?

Daveon wrote:

To be honest Fletcher my objections to most American cars (by which I mean cars built for the American Market) is not that they are inefficient, many of them are, but that they're badly built and handle badly.

Even the Ford Torus which is, to all intents and purpses a Ford Mondeo handles like a pig. The suspension, transmission and steering all make the car feel like it wallows even at low speeds.

Frankly, getting some high efficiency, sporty hatch backs into the US market has been long over due, however...

... something will have to be done about the utterly appaling state of much of the US road system. Some parts can rightly blame the climate, but Seattle cannot and the roads here are truly, stunningly, bad.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on July 20, 2008 6:24 AM.

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