I've always said that until gasoline in the United States stops being (essentially) free, nothing is really going to make Americans stop driving big, heavy, gas-guzzling cars.
Oh sure, the Feds can force car makers to BUILD small, fuel-efficient cars.
But they refuse to create any pressure on consumers to actually buy them.
Is there a sign that this might finally be changing?
Gasoline in the Los Angeles area this past weekend was over four bucks a US gallon.
Yes, I know - still 30 percent less than WE pay, and have been paying for years.
And about half what most of the rest of the civilized world pays.
But $2.50 used to be considered some sort of car-buying-behaviour-changing threshold down here.
What if gasoline DOES get to five bucks, as most experts are predicting?
It may not happen any time soon.
For starters, it was a holiday weekend here (Presidents' Day), and we all know what happens to gasoline prices on a long weekend, don't we?
There have been some refinery shut-downs in this region recently which may have affected supply.
But the ads in the daily newspapers (yes, they still do have them...) show Toyota Prius hybrids being offered for zero down, and zero percent interest.
Maybe the gas prices haven't be high enough for long enough to make the appropriate impact.
As with everything else, time will tell.