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Page added on December 30, 2007

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2008, a Year of Petroleum Exuberance

…We will witness the dawning of an era of exuberance regarding matters petroleum, a time of optimism comparable to the Roaring Twenties and the recently expired housing boom that was inflated by phony mortgages. Peak-oil theorists, those people foolish enough to believe that a nonrenewable resource is eventually exhaustible, will be vilified as alarmists. American consumers, mollified by falling petroleum prices and the promised availability of more exploitable oil reserves, will breathe sighs of relief. And they will spend the summer before November’s elections wrestling with issues of gravitas, such as whether our presidential candidates, Democrat and Republican, support the right of adults to marry whom they choose to marry.


We will see more gas-electric vehicles. This is guaranteed. Even automotive companies such as Audi and Nissan, which long have resisted gas-electrics, will introduce or announce the planned introduction of gas-electrics, although their engineers generally concede that fossil fuel-battery technology will do little to reduce our overall consumption of petroleum and might even present a few “downstream” environmental problems of its own. No matter. In the world of automotive marketing, reigning public perception, erroneous or not, is reality. It pays handsomely to develop cars and trucks accordingly.


Product schizophrenia will remain evident at the 2008 car shows worldwide, including the Washington Auto Show, where environmental green will be the dominant exhibition theme but where the pursuit of market share and balance-sheet green will be the underlying reality. Look for all major automobile manufacturers to tout their fuel-sipping, clean-air green prowess. But also look for all of them to go after the other kind of green with V-8 and larger engines aimed at pulling maximum dollars from the pockets of consumers who remain very much in love with high horsepower and high performance.


Washington Post



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