The DeLorean, thanks to Universal Pictures and Dr. Emmett Brown, will forever represent a car that transcended time and space. Too bad nothing like that exists today. Or does it?
We all know that America has long been a land of automobiles. We average more than two cars per household and consume more oil than any other nation in the world. But with the current lackluster economy, cheap outsourced labor, and companies like GM, Ford and Chrysler seeking billions in government bailouts, does this mean the end of the American automobile? Hardly.
The American auto industry just needs the secret to Joan Rivers’ success — a face-lift. We need a modern-day and, quite frankly, plausible version of Marty McFly and the DeLorean, a seemingly impossible blend of alternative fuels and advanced technology, along with a bit of style. This became a possibility with the introduction of the Toyota Prius in 2001, which utilized both a gasoline and an electric engine. The growing popularity of the Prius has caused other car companies, including American ones, to jump on the alternative energy bandwagon. GM has created a fuel cell vehicle that runs off of hydrogen power and only emits water vapors. Ford is focusing on spending millions on developing solely electric powered cars. There are also over 1,500 locations in the United States that provide biodiesel, made from vegetable oil that can fuel any diesel engine. Companies are even looking into turning algae into a fuel, which would be used like gasoline. This all sounds wonderful, right? But what’s still holding us back?
For one, it’s money. Oil accounts for over 40 percent of our energy demand, with companies like Chevron making billions of dollars each year. That makes it pretty hard for vegetable oil to compete, but even ExxonMobil has invested over $600 million into algae research. So then what is it? Unfortunately, it’s us. We, as Americans, pride ourselves on our freedom of choice, which is great, but maybe we need to change our stubborn belief that bigger is better. Instead of a family of four taking their 9-miles-per-gallon Hummer to the mall, we should try to be a bit more practical.
Maybe the possibility of a time-traveling DeLorean is out of reach, but there is a plethora of upcoming alternatives that only provide us with more of the choices we love.