As a native metro-Detroiter, I can’t help but get excited every year as the North American International Auto Show descends on the city. When the auto show arrives, so do the bright lights of the media on shiny, sleek concept cars of the future. We also have a chance to preview cars in upcoming model years. Both generate excitement from automakers and drivers alike. This year, there’s new excitement brewing on the future of cars over more and more energy efficient vehicles.
The reviews are in on this year’s lineup of vehicles at the show, and fuel efficient vehicles are hogging the spotlight. Bill Vlasic, New York Times auto reporter writes that “Two of the biggest producers, General Motors and Nissan, served notice at the annual Detroit auto show that they are in the electric-car business for the long haul.” David Unger reports for the Christian Science Monitor, “The heart of the Detroit auto show may be automotive eye-candy, but some automakers highlighted new approaches to energy use in an industry that consumes a lot of it.” This year more than ever, the message coming out of the auto show is that green is good.
Not long ago the fuel efficient, electric cars were spotlighted as the cars of the future, not the cars of today. This year, automakers have made a concerted effort to include energy-saving, fuel efficient features on every vehicle model. The Cadillac ATS, North American Car of the Year, boasts 31 miles per gallon on the highway. The newly unveiled, sharply designed Cadillac ELR, essentially a two-door Cadillac version of the Chevy Volt, adds even more smart, fuel efficient features to the mix. Outside of Cadillac, even more makes and models have fuel-saving features such as on/off eco boost fuel-saver buttons.
Over the next few years, higher fuel efficiency standards will raise the bar even higher and we’ll see more positive changes and technologies that help Americans fill up their gas tanks less often and save money. The best news is that Americans are eager to drive this new fuel efficient fleet of vehicles. After Ford unveiled its new fuel efficient F-150 truck due out in the 2015 model year, Ford shares rose 2.2 percent to close at $14.30, the highest level in about 18 months.
America’s road to energy independence will take a lot more than higher vehicle fuel efficiency. We have however seen significant, positive changes over the past few years in terms of consumers’ willingness to buy fuel efficient vehicles and automakers’ willingness to produce them. These are changes that will drive anticipation and interest in the vehicles we’ll see coming off the assembly lines in Detroit in 2014 and beyond.