I think a lot of different measures can be undertaken to promote fuel efficiency, the single most effective of which would be a higher tax on gasoline. The more expensive gas is, the less likely people are to purchase cars that get 10 or 15 miles to the gallon. The implicit success of this strategy can be seen across Europe, where at approximately £1.00 per liter (in England), a gallon of gas costs around $6. Having lived there myself, I can safely say that in England, fuel efficiency isn’t so much a lifestyle choice as a de facto way of life.
The government could also offer subsidies to companies who produce fuel efficient vehicles or electric cars. This would lower the cost of producing fuel efficient vehciles, thus lowering their prices, thus making them more attractive to buyers.
With the market beginning to shift towards more fuel efficient vehicles, promotion of these types of cars is already happening. If people begin to make the shift towards fuel efficient vehicles, the demand will continue to grow and hopefully lead to an economy that only conists of fuel efficient vehicles.
In the end, it will come down to how much car companies and the government are willing to give back to the consumer. Many car companies have already developed vehicles that are more efficient (diesel and hybrid) than ever before. Many of those companies are also developing vehicles that are soley powered by electricity. The downside to such new technology is relatively high pricing compared to similar gasoline powered vehicles. There are currently some incentives offered by both manufacturers and our government. However, until the average consumer can afford a more fuel efficient vehicle they will continue to exist in a niche market.
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