Best of The Panelist
SUVs and trucks are big sellers, even with the recent drop-off in sales. Yet when polled, three-quarters of Americans support increased fuel-efficiency, and this includes those who own the gas-guzzling, carbon-emitting trucks and such. Why the disconnect? An article in this week's New Yorker argues that individuals desire to protect themselves (believing big cars to be safer than small), and to be more powerful (using horsepower, for example), so they buy big cars.
Will electric cars ever really replace gasoline powered cars? One of the things Big Oil companies might have to fear is the development of a practical and affordable electric car. And that is what is likely coming our way in the fairly near future. With instability reigning in top oil producing regions of the world, many people are jittery about relying on foreign oil and about the volatility of oil prices. This is providing some impetus to companies (including car makers in Detroit) to develop electric cars that work well and are reasonably priced.If a single entertainment item could defibrillate our socially ambivalent culture into taking action against the corrupt state of the corporate world, 2004's The Corporation might be it. In this fast-paced and thorough documentary, filmmakers Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott cross-examine the management of corporate America, as well as its victims and critics, and leave us with a sense of paranoia and distrust that only a library of conspiracy books could match.
Congress wants to take tax breaks away from Big Oil and give the money to alternative energy research. But President Bush may not let Congress fund alternative energy in such a way. He thinks Big Oil should continue to enjoy special status. The big question right now is: What Will George Do?
Our humor Panelist reports that Pepsi is rumored to be preparing the launch of Mountain Sensations, a bagged air product designed to refresh the customer. "We were literally going to sell air; it was going to cost a dollar…" said Pepsi's VP of marketing, unable to hold back his tears. In related news, Pepsi's Aquafina brand tap water announced last week that it would change the PWS logo printed on its bottles to a more descriptive ‘Public Water Source’. Company spokeswoman Debra Spencer said "Obviously, it has always been tap water. Our customers are idiots. Are you forgetting that we introduced Crystal Pepsi?"