Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Shape of Things to Come

I was struck this morning at a news item in the Houston Chronicle, that Toyota Motors was temporarily closing its Tundra plant in San Antonio to be retooled and then it will be reopened in a move that “will consolidate all truck production in San Antonio.”

Another plant in Indiana that makes Toyota’s Sequoia truck will be retooled to produce the more fuel-efficient Highlander SUV.

But most strikingly, the same piece announced that Toyota’s hybrid car, the Prius, was to be built in a new plant being built in Mississippi. Currently, the Prius is produced only in Asia.

Times are changing and the Japanese, again, are right on top of it. But Texans, they think, will never give up the love affair that they have with trucks, and maybe that’s true. But I am thinking that at some point their adoration for all things fuel-sucking will give way to a new paradigm.

And the things we see on and along our highways now will be a thing of distant memory. Things like full serve service stations. Things like Winnebago cities in KOA Campgrounds.

The sights and scenes like this photo of rush hour traffic in Houston,

will be replaced with scenes like this, a typical day on a Singapore expressway. Is this photo actually a glimpse into our future?

It’s going to take some time, but we all just better get used to the idea of downsizing and fuel economy now. My guess is the high prices of gasoline in Singapore, currently around 6.35 USD/gallon, is hurting them, but think what that price would do to your family budget getting that big old Tahoe filled? So they are in considerably better shape to handle these prices than we are.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One reason rush hour may come to look like that sooner than later is because a lot of us in my age group, 55+ are looking at this mess and concluding it's time to throw in the towel and exchange the commute for a rocking chair on a porch far, far away from the city of our American Industrial nightmare.