Kicking The Gas Habit.
President Bush wants us to kick the gas habit and cut our use of gasoline by 20% in 10 years. Detroit's automakers have been clamoring for this by pledging to build even more E-85 ethanol cars and trucks. Still, I wonder if this will really happen.
First, there's the question of infrastructure. There are too few ethanol plants, too few service stations with ethanol pumps, and outside of the midwest, limited demand for flex fuel vehicles.
Second, if gas prices continue to come down, how much appetite will people have for ethanol fueled vehicles? Sure, when gas was around $3, driving an E-85 vehicle made sense to some people. But with unleaded down to roughly $2, I suspect demand will also fall.
While the automakers are making huge progress with hybrids, plug in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells, even electrically powered cars and trucks, the reality is that mass market development of much of that technology is years away. And even when the technology is in place, it will take time to get people to adopt these "new fuel vehicles".
The will is there in Washington. The capacity is ready in Detroit but getting American drivers to break a 100 year-old habit won't be easy even if we have a decade to try doing it.
Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com