… With the Car Options

blue soapbox  Somewhere in a parallel universe, economic, geopolitical and environmental factors have forced a civilization to rethink its automobile industry.  In a Piedmont Post exclusive, we are bringing you notes from this alien culture.

Plan One: we’re retrofitting our cars for energy efficiency. New car manufacture has been the economic backbone of our city of Totride for decades.  We looked into a comeback based on that premise, but had to consider the significant negative impact that automobile manufacturing, whether of Hummers or hybrids, has had on our planet.  So we’re putting people to work in a massive retrofitting industry whereby older, but perfectly good, auto bodies can get new, more eco-friendly insides.  Solar, electric, algae-based biodiesel—you name it, we’re making it happen.  We figure if we can send a man to the moon…

We heard about “Cash for Clunkers,” some kind of extra-terrestrial governmental rebate program that incentivizes people to trade in their gas guzzlers for new, higher-MPG models.  It sounds so… well, foreign.  We live by Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, so we don’t throw out perfectly good stuff.  We fix it.

Plan Two: we’re retrofitting our cars with rubber bumpers. For awhile there, we made Styrofoam bumpers with the approximate life span of a coat of nail polish.  We tried covering up this folly by installing high-tech cameras on our newer models so that drivers could engage in the ritual called parallel parking with less risk of a trip to the body shop afterward.  We also claimed with a straight face that consumers preferred the painted bumpers aesthetically when it was the parts manufacturers, the body shops, and of course the auto industry’s bottom line that preferred them.  But then we realized we could make custom rubber bumpers out of old tires, employing thousands and solving the design flaw in one fell swoop.  Who knows?  Next we may tackle the wholly unintelligible dashboard…

Plan Three:  we’re actively promoting public transportation.

Plan Four: we’re  retooling urban sprawl for mixed use.

Published in the Piedmont Post, July 8, 2009

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