Ever since the marvels of mass production brought the prices of automobiles into reach for much of the public, we Americans have had a love affair with our cars.
And that love has grown as a result of beautiful styling, mechanical advances, luxurious comfort and good roads — and despite five-digit car prices.
Even recent, up-to-$4-per-gallon gasoline has not radically reduced traffic on our streets, though obviously people do to some degree adjust to rising costs.
A few years ago, many drivers wanted huge cars. Some vehicles were so big they couldn’t fit into garages! Those vehicles still abound — especially in SUV form — but now, as gas prices have risen, many people are choosing smaller vehicles that offer better mileage.
General Motors, the biggest U.S. car producer, sold 232,538 cars and trucks just last month — up an astounding 27 percent in volume. Many of them were smaller cars.
Sales of “foreign” cars, many now made in the United States, have jumped in recent years, too. Many are smaller models with better gas mileage.
Prices clearly have big effects on our choices of vehicles, but America’s love affair with cars remains.