Fuel-Efficient Cars May Be Good, But They'll Kill the American Car Culture

Like the demise of newspapers, this is going to be painful to watch.

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By John Aloysius Farrell, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

I know I should be happy that President Obama and the U.S. car industry have joined with environmentalists to raise mileage standards to almost 40 miles per gallon.

On an intellectual level, I know that the billions of newly affluent Chinese and Indians buying cars in the coming decades will place a stunning demand on the world's supply of oil, and that polar bears are threatened by global warming.

I am glad that we are on a path toward freeing ourselves from our dependency on petro-dictators.

And I am hoping—really hoping—that there are brilliant engineers somewhere who will continue to design cars that growl, with names like Corvette, Porsche and Mustang, that will meet the new mileage requirements.

But I figure those growlers are going to be pretty pricy, and that more and more Americans will be looking at sensible hybrids and electric cars, to drive on ever-more crowded highways.

The death of the American car culture—like the demise of newspapers—is going to be a painful thing to watch.

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