Automotive Woes

Americans are obsessed with cars. I recently encountered severe rush hour traffic outside of Cleveland, and couldn’t help but observe the behavior of other drivers trying to make their way down the busy interstate. There were as many different types of people out there as you could imagine: white, black, Asian, male, female, etc. The only thing that most drivers had in common was that they were the only person sitting in the car. Even with gas prices now flirting with $3 per gallon, the American ego is too big to stop people from giving up their very own car. What won’t be changed anytime in the future is America’s fixation with cars; what can be changed is the type of cars that we drive.

For many years, liberals followed the simple axiom: buy American. Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler manufactured their cars in American cities like Detroit, Flint and Pontiac and employed unionized labor. American auto employees earned high wages and received good benefits. Choosing a new car was a no-brainer for a liberal who cared about the well being of autoworkers and economic progress of Midwestern manufacturing cities. Unfortunately, this logic is stuck in the past. Now, buy American can’t be considered as much of a truism. Companies like Honda and Toyota are opening manufacturing plants all over America. Soon, the state of Ohio could become home to more auto manufacturing jobs than any other state in the union, thanks to foreign car companies. In rust belt states struggling from the recent loss of manufacturing jobs, these companies might be the savior unemployed skilled workers are looking for.

Liberals don’t only care about American jobs, they’re seriously concerned with the environment. As global warming becomes more and more of a concern and widely accepted as a problem facing society, liberals are pushing auto companies to develop cars that use less fuel and even alternate fuels. American car companies have fallen far behind in this regard. Liberals want to see more hybrid and compact vehicles on the road. Currently, Honda and Toyota offer numerous models of compact hybrid vehicles. Ford and GM offer none. Toyota focuses on fuel efficient cars like Corolla and Echo/Yaris while GM focuses on monsters like the Hummer. Many of the financial problems facing Ford and Toyota can be attributed to their inability to produce anything other than gas guzzling SUVs and pickup trucks that once brought them great profits.

Ultimately, liberals now face a difficult decision when it comes to selecting which car to take to the road. Why buy an Ford or GM vehicle when you can get a Toyota Prius or a Honda Civic hybrid? Both the Honda and Toyota are manufactured right here in the Midwest and are more environmentally sound than a comparable Ford or GM sedan. Ford and GM need to give liberals and Americans in general a better reason to purchase their vehicles. We can’t eliminate cars from the road, but we can make the cars we drive more environmentally sound, and right now it looks like foreign car companies are the only ones concerned with making that happen.