The “problem” is wealth (again)

Rich Lowry on the inevitability of auto travel:

Americans have arrived at an answer to high gas prices and concerns about global warming ââ?¬â?? buy more cars. According to a report in The New York Times, households with a small, gas-efficient car own, on average, almost three cars. They are just adding the small car to their driveway fleet. The Times reports that last year more than 500,000 small models were purchased as a second or third car. Which couldn’t have been what small-car evangelists had in mind when urging people into more efficient vehicles. Ever since Henry Ford alighted on his vision of mass-produced cars affordable to the average consumer, there is no question to which Americans haven’t found the answer to be more cars and more driving. … The White House and top Democrats are proposing to increase mandatory fuel-economy standards for cars as a way to lessen our dependence on foreign oil and reduce greenhouse emissions. By increasing the efficiency of cars, however, they only will encourage more driving. In the Cato Institute publication Regulation, Andrew Kleit writes, “The latest estimates are that for every 10 percent increase in fuel efficiency, people increase their driving by two percent.”

Shameless plug of a plug:

In their book “The Road More Traveled,” Ted Balaker and Sam Staley argue that car ownership and driving track with wealth ââ?¬â?? the richer a country is, the more it will drive.

Whole piece here. Related: Perhaps the “problem” is wealth