Any profit-maximizing company — which all car companies are — would rather have the best-selling car than the most efficient car, but those two goals are hurtling headlong towards each other in the era of expensive energy. New green technology can't just make the best use of energy, it also has to eventually make a profit. Different automakers are going in different directions, but lets play armchair CEO — which direction's going to get the most miles per gallons and the most dollars per sale?
Toyota is boosting hybrid production. GM is putting its marketing eggs in a basket named Chevy Volt, an electric car with power generated by a gas engine, and putting the volume eggs in a basket called the Chevy Cruze, a small 45 MPG econobox.
Ford is looking at EcoBoost, which looks to get the most out of smaller engines with turbocharging and direct injection while simultaneously pushing hybrids and electric power as the wave of the future. Honda has remained profitable by building attractive and efficient cars, but plans on releasing two new hybrids of their own in the next year. Which is the right green path to gold?