Back in April 2014 we reported on the conspiracy rumor that Volkswagen’s new “300 MPG car” (i.e., the XL1, more accurately described a 235 MPG plug-in diesel-electric hybrid) is “not allowed in America” (i.e., cannot legally be sold in the U.S. due to prohibitive federal regulations) because “it is too efficient” (i.e., would greatly lessen the demand for gasoline and thereby greatly lessen profits for
Nonetheless, we still receive mail from readers who are buying into the Big Government/Big Oil collusion conspiracy to keep highly fuel-efficient cars out of the U.S., such as the following:
Please update this after reading the Consumer Reports article dealing with hybrids, and how dealers actively discourage people from buying or leasing them. And next time be more cautious when throwing around the word “conspiracy” in a derogatory manner. After all, when three or more gas stations get together to set the price of gas in an area at thirty cents more than gas costs less than
Comments such as these highlight the importance of actually reading and understanding material rather than simply skimming and accepting anything that sounds like it might confirm what one is already inclined to believe.
The Consumer Reports article referenced in the above-quoted comment involved that consumer publication’s sending secret shoppers to several dozen automobile dealerships in order to survey how their salespeople dealt with customers expressing interest in plug-in
electric vehicles (EVs). What they found was that salespeople at dealerships sometimes discouraged the sale of
However, what readers such as the author of the above-quoted comment have failed to grasp is that the cited Consumer Reports article has virtually nothing to do with the facts outlined in our article, other than that they both generally involve the subject of hybrid/electric vehicles. The Consumer Reports article deals with an occasional reluctance on the part of auto salespeople to push EVs, not a federal regulation prohibiting the U.S. sale of such vehicles; Consumer Reports found such reluctance generally stemmed from salespeople’s unfamiliarity with
And of course the correspondent’s chiding coda about a supposed “conspiracy” by service station operators to set the retail price of gasoline in their area is irrelevant as it has nothing to do with either regulations barring the sales of high-mileage vehicles nor with a conspiracy to inflate oil company profits. (In any case, gas station operators, like most all retailers, set their prices at whatever they’ve determined the market will bear, depending upon factors such as supply, demand, wholesale prices, and competition.)