How many miles-per-gallon might some new cars be capable of traveling if the government hadn’t begun “mandating” how many miles-per-gallon new cars must travel?
One way to get an idea is to consider suspension travel – which (so far) the government doesn’t “mandate” (or regulate) one way or the other.
The results have been so good it’s almost hard to believe.
Without any government involvement at all, there are vehicles like the ’22 Ford Bronco I recently test drove for a week that ride more comfortably than luxury cars once did – despite the Bronco being a lifted 4×4 riding on 35 inch knobby tires designed for crawling over cars. This is true generally of modern 4x4s (what “SUVs” used to be called) as well as pick-trucks. If you’ve driven one made during the past ten years or so, you’ll already know all about it.
Back in the mid-‘70s, which was when the government began to “mandate” (and regulate) how many miles-per-gallon new cars must deliver – trucks and 4x4s did not ride like luxury cars.
They also did not handle better than the performance cars of the time – which the new trucks and 4x4s do.
I am regularly amazed by the latter as much as the former, as the owner of a ‘70s performance car (my 1976 Pontiac Trans-Am) that, back in the ‘70s, was one of the best-handling new cars available. The new Bronco I recently test drove handles – and rides – better. It can take curves faster without its tires squealing, sooner. It does not feel tipsy when cornering at speeds below the speed limit – as jacked-up 4×4 SUVs once did. And when the curves straighten out, the ride is astonishingly plush. Especially compared with the ride quality of my ’76 Trans-Am, which will loosen any old crowns you might want to get rid of.
Back in the ’70s, before the government became the intermediary between the car-makers and car-buyers, buyers had to decide which they preferred: A car that could corner better than a 4×4 or pickup (and luxury cars) or a car that had a plush ride – but “handled” like a drunken oaf walks down the sidewalk.
You picked one – and put up with (or sacrificed) the other.
Then this thing called the free market applied its non-coercive pressure – exerted in the form of people who bought cars (and 4x4s and trucks) expressing their preferences, via their checkbooks, for suspensions that weren’t one-size-fits all. Performance cars got more comfortable, while becoming more capable. The same for 4x4s and pick-ups, which have achieved a level of capability and comfort that would have boggled the mind back in the ’70s. It is no hard thing to drive a vehicle like the new Bronco every day, as a general purpose vehicle. It was a very hard thing, back in the ’70s, to drive a ’70s-era Bronco every day as a general purpose vehicle.
None of this happened because the government “stepped in” – the euphemism for applied coercion – to make the car industry design and build more compliant and even-more-capable suspension systems. Luxury cars now handle better than the highest-performance cars of the ’70s and lifted 4x4s ride better than the luxury cars of the ’70s.
All of that happened naturally, as a result of market forces that never applied coercion to anyone.
Prior to such coercion, there were already economical cars on the market.
Perhaps the most iconic – and best-selling – being the VW Beetle. Italicized to emphasize the point. Millions of these were sold – i.e., freely exchanged – years before the government began to apply coercion (in the form of “mandates” and regulations) requiring such cars to be sold.
Had the government not applied coercion, the market almost certainly would have resulted in an even more efficient Beetle – and other cars like it – because if people wanted more efficient cars, then there is a market for them and so a good reason (profit) for car makers to design, build and offer them for sale.
Cars like the old Beetle would have, in the natural course of things, been upgraded with more efficient fuel delivery systems (i.e., fuel injection) and other such things which would have improved their efficiency analogously to the way the suspension systems of modern vehicles have evolved to become better at more things – all without the need to force them to be made so.
One of the most extravagantly stupid assertions ever made is that it is only because of government coercion – “mandates” and regulations – that efficiency became a priority for the car industry.
In the manner of computers becoming more capable, efficient and lower-priced on account of government coercion. Whoops. The government hasn’t applied coercion to the computer industry, insofar as computer processing speed (efficiency) ease of use and general reliability.
But – somehow, to some minds – cars are different. The car industry would have ignored market preferences and continued to build “gas hogs” were it not for government “mandates” and regulations to make cars more efficient.
Kind of like the way suspensions have developed into almost miraculously capable – and comfortable – technologies, without a single “mandate” or regulation forcing them to be so.
. . .
If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos.
PS: Get an EPautos magnet or sticker or coaster in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $10 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a magnet or sticker or coaster – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)