Washington Auto Show, Efficiency on Display

By January 23, 2008Energy

autoshow.jpgSome National Association of Manufacturing staff got a sneak peek Tuesday of the Washington Auto Show, which officially opens today. I decided to go along with my 14-year-old son, Ian.

Visiting an auto show is a must-do experience for most red-blooded American males and their sons. There’s nothing like that new car smell or the glint of polished chrome.

But with oil flirting at $100 a barrel and prices at the pump so high, I had little appetite for massive SUVs and other models that get less than 20 miles to the gallon, city driving.

My son finally found the car of his dreams. A gold 2008 BMW 335i convertible with 300 horses under the hood. Price tag: $49,875.

There’s no way I could afford the car. But the price tag wasn’t what I was looking at.

“Ian, what kind of mileage does that thing get?,” I asked.

Fuel economy was also on the minds of officials of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which is hosting the show at the Washington Convention Center. According to President Dave McCurdy, manufacturers are offering environmentally cleaner, safer and more fuel-efficient models than ever.

There are now 12 million alternative fuel vehicles, including hybrids and clean diesel cars, on American roads. Auto manufacturers are offering even more for sale this year, McCurdy said, and many were on display on the car show floor.

But considering there were more than 240 million vehicles registered in the United States as of 2005, we still have a long way to go when it comes to buying vehicles that run on alternative fuels.

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