We once owned a yellow Volvo station wagon, 245 series to be exact. It was a 1977 model and we even personalized the license plate to read “ITZ A 77.” We were very proud of our first automobile purchase as a married couple and it also became the first car our daughter drove when she was in high school. It was a very vintage model by then and barely survived until her graduation in 2000. Let’s just say we like to get our money’s worth and our daughter was just too embarrassed to drive our new 1998 VW Cabrio – too flashy?
But now technology is changing the automotive world. Volvo seems to be taking the lead. They have sounded the death knell of the internal combustion engine, saying that all the models it will introduce starring in 2019 will be either hybrid or powered solely by batteries. The decision is the boldest commitment by any major car company to technologies that represent a small share of the total vehicle market but are increasingly viewed as essential to combating climate change and urban pollution. Unfortunately, U.S. automakers have continued to churn out S.U.V.s and pickup trucks, whose sales have surged because of relatively low fuel prices.
Maybe so-called President Trump can do something about all this? But I forgot: he doesn’t believe that climate change is really happening at all. He is also too busy looking for international enemies wherever they may be?
I am dedicating this blog to Donald J. Trump (so-called President) in the remote hope they he might take a passing glance at what some experts say is actually happening with the automobile industry in this country. Let’s first take a look at Trump’s version of how he will help the automobile industry and its workers (his alternative reality?). He would like to reduce the miles per gallon requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for American-made cars/trucks. Consequently, we will then burn more gas, and simultaneously increase toxic car emissions into our already polluted atmosphere. Detroit can then build more cars/trucks that will be less expensive than those saddled with all those environmental protection safeguards. Not to mention that automobile makers will be hiring more American workers and bring economic relief to depressed parts of the country. NOT SO FAST!
Thought for today: Automakers are the biggest users of industrial robots, which have hurt jobs and wages in local economies. Real-world data supports this more pessimistic future. Researchers were surprised to see very little employment increases in other occupations to offset the job losses in manufacturing. A recent study analyzed the effect of industrial robots in local labor markets in the United States. Robots are to blame for up to 670,000 lost manufacturing jobs between 1990 and 2007, it concluded, and that number will rise because industrial robots are expected to quadruple. And it obviously appears that these hi-tech robots and their “offspring” will be keeping their jobs longer than their human counterparts.
So the challenges just seem to be piling up for the Donald. I would suggest that he READ some fact-based reporting in a real newspaper (NY Times?). And stop believing “fake news” and watching FOX TV.