How Fuel Efficient Should Your Car Be?S

Americans aren't known for their willingness to buy fuel efficient cars. After all, this is a country that has a lot of wide open space still and cities where you almost never have to parallel park. Our fuel is cheap compared to other countries, too, so why not buy something with a massive V8 that's also 18 feet long?

Venezuelans have long taken advantage of cheap gas, too. But in today's TMS, the days of nickel gas could be fading away, forcing people to ditch things like Ford LTDs for much smaller and more efficient cars. According to The Associated Press, even the late president Hugo Chavez "once confessed it pained him to practically give away fuel to luxury car owners." Just as in this country, some people abuse the fact our gas is much cheaper and buy something that makes no sense at all.

But isn't that our right to choose?

Bob Loblaw Made Me Make a Phoney Phone Call to Edward Rooney wondered:

What does "should be commuting in slightly more efficient vehicles" mean? How does one define what level of efficiency you should be achieving?

CrymeLord has an idea:

It's a good question. I don't think there is a hard and fast answer, but the spirit of the comment seems to be this: when you have an abundance of something with very little cost associated with it you tend to waste it. It's human nature.

In the US we had no inclination to even start developing more efficient cars until the oil embargoes of the 70s and even then we stopped caring after that scare right up until near when gas prices started to soar in the 2000s.

I'd say that people should be daily commuting in cars that have MPGs in at least the 20s.

Which actually connected back to the top story in TMS today: Volkswagen and Audi shifted more than 100,000 diesels in the U.S. in 2013. Imagine how many more they could sell if diesel didn't still have a stigma that makes people stick with gasoline engines, even though a diesel could suit their driving habits. Also imagine how many more they'd move if diesel and regular gas were a similar price more often.

If the price of fuel was dirt cheap, though, should we still be able to buy something like a BMW M3 and drive it no more enthusiastically than we would a 328d? That just sounds like a waste of everything.

Photo: AP