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interview > eberhard > eberhard 15

Eberhard 15 (1:18)
Topic(s): Auto Industry / Car Culture / Environment
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Eberhard

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It's true if you look at even the companies like Toyota, Toyota's corporate average fuel economy today is lower than it was 10 years ago. It's lower despite the fact that they make Prius' and Hybrids. Their corporate average fuel economy has gone down and that's not because of anything Toyota has done particularly, it's because Americans in general have chosen to buy bigger Toyotas. On average we prefer to buy the Land Cruiser to the Prius. And that drives the gas mileage because we've chosen to buy bigger and bigger and bigger cars. If you look at any particular size or class of car, if you look at little compact cars, mid-size cars, whatever in any given class, that class of car has gotten more efficient for all the car companies—for Ford, for General Motors, and for Toyota - consistently for the last 20 years. But, as it happens, Americans have chosen to buy bigger and more gas guzzling cars every year.

I suspect that will change, by the way. I mean, I got my drivers license in 1978. In 1978 it was just after the—just in the middle of the big 1970s oil crisis. My first car was a 1968 Ford LTD. It had 45,000 miles on the thing, it was in perfect condition. I paid $500 for it. I had my pick—I could have had big old Cadillacs, Lincolns, Mercurys, the big giant cars were essentially free because nobody wanted them. And we may reach that day again when we realize that these big SUVs are not really what we should be driving.

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