Here's a reality for many car guys: You pull up next to a Prius at a stoplight and look over at the driver with a mix of pity and condescension. You think to yourself "You have the money for a new car and you buy that?! You could've had a dozen Miatas/Fox bodies/busted-ass E30s for the money!" Then you roar off in your $3500 scrapheap, winding out the first few gears to remind them of their mistake and offset their carbon neutrality. Automotive enthusiasm comes with a bit of smug superiority. And, at this point in history, we've never been more on the defensive.
The story's original article can be found here.
The car guy is a dying breed. Studies show that teenage enthusiasm for the open road is waning, with AAA finding that only 44% of eligible teens get their license within a year of turning 16. Crash test regulations are putting more glass, metal, and plastic between the coddled cockpit and the road; never again will we comfortably rest our elbows on the driver's side sill on a windows-down day. And the average complexity of a car has evolved to the point that an electrical engineering degree will soon be required to change spark plugs. Imagine the aspiring tinkerer opening his hood and seeing this:
Pictured: Nothing to see here, time to go watch Netflix.
The nail in the coffin to all of this is the sinister workings of the occultist convent known as the EPA. The 2025 fuel economy standards mandate an average fleetwide rating of 54.5mpg. Technology will catch up and make this a feasible goal in the next eleven years, but one thing is almost certain: the cars ain't going to be fun to drive. The green world has no place for those who enjoy the sonorous sounds of combusting fossil fuels.
To put it bluntly, the automotive scene as we know it has an end-date. And while it may not be completely in the ground by 2025, you can bet that we will attend the wake in our lifetimes. I see Google's push for self-driving cars as the slowly-lowering pendulum. Can you imagine the company happy hour of the insurance industry the day their lobbyists manage to push through legislation requiring all cars to be automated? At least the analysts won't have to drive themselves home drunk.So hoo-rah, the car is dead. Stick a fork in 'em, let's move on to the next big thing (my money's on sex-boxes that directly interface with porn websites).