It still works.

News flash: Skyrocketing gas prices are driving historic shifts in the habits of car buyers, pushing them away from thirsty pickups and full-size SUVs and into four-cylinder compacts.

What a surprise.

Might all the smart people behind tougher federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy rules be watching? If they are, do they understand what we are witnessing? Namely, this: It’s not arbitrary mileage goals, mostly unhinged from engineering reality and focused on a handful of companies, that are dramatically changing the behavior of the driving public. It’s the price of fuel, stupid.

Cars outsold trucks in April for the first time in a generation, according to industry figures compiled by Autodata Corp., and four-cylinder powered cars outsold those with six cylinders under the hood. The shift, clearly a blow to truck-dependent Detroit automakers scrambling to dig out of their deep hole, is confirmation that market forces are a swifter disciplinarian than the collective wisdom of Congress, career bureaucrats and the environmental lobby.

Daniel Howes continues to discuss how the market, better than any government program, quick fix or temper tantrum, has made fuel economy a big issue with consumers. 

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Filed under: EconomicsEnergyGovernment

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