The Yaris: Change your Ways, not your Technology

In a previous post on changing driving habits, commenters complained: "I cannot alter my driving practices. I consume almost the same amount of gas every month. Don't wait for people like me to change our ways - there are no bike paths, I live 22 miles from work, and in a residential-only area. It's all I can afford." Others complain that we think bikes are the only answer. In fact, we often get excited about small, fuel efficient cars Like the Yaris. TreeHugger might say " Forget all the talk about ethanol, hybrid gas-electric vehicles and fuel-cell powered "hydrogen" cars. What stands between the U.S. economy and a significant reduction in gasoline consumption isn't some Manhattan Project leap of technology. It's a more-challenging effort to recalibrate culture." Except we didn't- it was Wall Street Journal Detroit correspondent Joseph White, reviewing the Toyota Yaris. He makes other surprising comments: "The Yaris is not all the car many Americans would want, but it is all the car many Americans need. With a manual five-speed transmission, it's possible to achieve perfectly adequate acceleration from a stop light or onto the freeway. And the car's diminutive size isn't an issue for a lone commuter: In my office parking garage, I would much rather have the Yaris than the large SUVs I drove recently. Better yet, I could hope to do a week's worth of commuting on roughly six gallons of gas -- a little more than half a tank."

"The technology to have a substantially more fuel-efficient car fleet in the U.S. is here. There's no need to wait for fuel cells, or a new government fuel-economy mandate. The question is whether more American consumers will put aside habits acquired over the past 70 years and rethink their obsession with speed, size and status. "

We could not agree more. Congratulations to Joseph White for hitting the nail on the head. ::Wall Street Journal