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White 3 (1:45)
Topic(s): Auto Industry / Car Culture / Efficiency / Future Transport
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Video Transcript

If you look anywhere in the world, not just the United States, you look anywhere in the world, people will buy the most horsepower they can afford. I mean, you know, there's something kind of primal and elemental about having a powerful machine at your beck and call and at your command. The car companies know this; they're selling emotion. Look, if we just needed an appliance to get from A to B, we'd all be driving around in Toyota Corollas—used ones, by the way, not new, because used is ever so much more economical. And that's not what we do. Why? Because we can. And because this is how the industry makes money.

And you know what? It's everybody. It's not just General Motors, it's not just Ford. They all do this. Toyota, they all sell power, they all sell prestige, they all sell size, they all sell high tech. The question that, I think, over time, if there's going to be a serious discussion about the impact of this on the global environment, is whether the car companies can shift from selling horsepower as a proxy for technology and technological superiority, and start selling high fuel economy or super clean emissions.

Starting, we're starting to see that. Your- I think Honda and Toyota, again, I think have led because it's kind of consistent with their corporate image. GM is trying to do that. I think a lot of what they say about trying to develop a plug-in hybrid is aimed at kind of repositioning themselves in people's minds. I think you'll see all the car companies do this. The question is whether sort of the big center of the American market is going to change without a somewhat more radical input like a big gas tax or much stricter government regulation that essentially drives the market toward a more fuel efficient set of solutions.

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