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“At $4, Everybody Gets Rational” (Krauthammer)

In the last week, I’ve noticed that more and more scooters are buzzing around my small town…and their owners are smiling.

Charles Krauthammer speaks to the tipping point of $4 per gallon in Real Clear Politics

At $4, Everybody Gets Rational

June 06, 2008
By Charles Krauthammer
Real Clear Politics

WASHINGTON — So now we know: The price point is $4.

At $3 a gallon, Americans just grin and bear it, suck it up, and, while complaining profusely, keep driving like crazy. At $4, it is a world transformed. Americans become rational creatures. Mass transit ridership is at a 50-year high. Driving is down 4 percent. (Any U.S. decline is something close to a miracle.) Hybrids and compacts are flying off the lots. SUV sales are in free fall.

The wholesale flight from gas guzzlers is stunning in its swiftness, but utterly predictable. Everything has a price point. Remember that “love affair” with SUVs? Love, it seems, has its price too.

America’s sudden change in car-buying habits makes suitable mockery of that absurd debate Congress put on last December on fuel efficiency standards. At stake was precisely what miles-per-gallon average would every car company’s fleet have to meet by precisely what date.

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