Jerry "What Me Worry?" Flint: $3 Gas is a Nuisance

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
jerry what me worry flint 3 gas is a nuisance

Forbes' columnist Jerry Flint says rising U.S. gas prices are not changing– nor are they about to change– America's car-buying habits. "We can afford it. If we rushed out and sold our big, safe, comfortable cars and trucks, trading them for little minis, we would be driving uncomfortably and less safely. We would lose more money on the trade-ins than we would ever save in lower gasoline bills." Uh, what about sagging pickup trucks sales, or the switch from SUVs to crossovers? Don't the numbers reflect a new mpg-related car-buying paradigm? Flint dismisses the shift as nothing more than a continuation of a pre-existing trend– although the dean of automotive journalists fails to state what triggered these trends in the first place. As always, Flint's take on the hard numbers is let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may PC anti-matter. Until the last 'graph. "But all is not hopeless," Flint opines, suddenly revealing his disapproval for American consumers' recalcitrance re: downsizing their cars, carpooling or hopping onto public transportation. "Auto companies around the world, those in Detroit included, are developing improved engines that will push a car farther on a gallon. They will be here in a few years. And they'll fit under the hood of a roomy, comfortable American car." Well thank God for that!

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  • Robert Farago Robert Farago on Oct 31, 2007

    tiger260 : To be fair, Flint agrees with your "locked in" thesis: "We would lose more money on the trade-ins than we would ever save in lower gasoline bills."

    But he doesn't agree with the overall supposition that rising gas prices have changed or are changing consumer tastes.

  • Rday Rday on Oct 31, 2007

    I read Flint but think he speaks mainly for the older generation. Most people will eventually give up their gas hogs when they are forced to by economics. My oldest son has an old F150 that is a real gas guzzler. He will buy a smaller car when the truck dies and it no longer makes sense to repair it. I think this is the case that many people find themselves in. So it will take time but eventually we will end up copying the Europeans and drive much smaller vehicles. We Americans have been spoiled by cheap gas. Reality is finally catching up with us and it is not a pleasant experience. It is always painful having to 'grow up'.

  • Martin Albright Martin Albright on Oct 31, 2007

    One of my most consistent complaints about the Detroit 3 has been that they have always offered us a false dichotomy of: Either economy or power. With few exceptions, the small, economical engines offered by the D3 have been absolutely anemic in terms of power. Meanwhile, the Japanese have no problem putting out a 4 cyl engine that puts out nearly as much power as an American V6, and still gets 4 cyl economy. Japan has been doing this for years. Why hasn't detroit cracked this nut? It can't be that hard, can it? Instead, their solution, when confronted with complaints of inadequately powered cars, has always been "okay, let's figure out a way to stick a bigger [read: thirstier!] engine in there." No effort made to try and get better MPG out of the existing engine, just put a bigger one in. It's frustrating, because it doesn't have to be that way.

  • Fallout11 Fallout11 on Nov 05, 2007

    Yet another clearly evident disconnect between the Forbes/country club set and the other 99% of "us" down here in steerage. Small and economical DOES NOT have to equate with cheap and chintzy.