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The Push Toward ‘Green’ Continues At The New York Auto Show

The 113th annual New York International Auto Show began letting media in Tuesday, March 26, opens to the public Friday, and runs to April 7. This year it is marked by a larger number of actual production-ready “green” and fuel-efficient cars, and plenty of larger SUVs and crossovers.

Fewer are the who-knows-if-they’ll-build-it bleeding-edge green vehicle concepts, but every automaker is making a continued and resounding nod toward the idea of cutting emissions and raising fuel economy.

Over 1,000 vehicles are on display at the 900,000 square-foot Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Westside Manhattan, and observers have said things like “green” is now “mainstream,” and while that’s true in a qualified sense, we could put a finer point on it.

Javits_Center_NYAS

It’s a given that fuel-efficiency and zero-emissions mandates here and abroad are shaping every automaker’s plans and they all are at least make some semblance of snapping to in the new order of things.

Ecological concerns and the desire to save money at the pump – or eliminate the pump altogether – underlie the whole state of affairs.

Society is trying to take better care of itself, the environment, and climate, and the general push is to improve transportation for present and future generations.

Prius_NYC

But rather than say green is now mainstream, in some ways we’d contend it’s not actually – it’s not any more mainstream than, say, counting calories or a healthy diet is mainstream over fast food. Arguably it is, but then you have lots of exceptions as we also have an “obesity epidemic” in the face of more available information and choices on healthy living than ever before.

Similarly, there are some who “get it” about the green car movement in its various forms, and people to varying degrees have bought into the ethos. At the same time, there are many others who are giving high-performance cars and uber-luxury and off-road capable machines all the more of a last hurrah – if it really is their “last” hurrah” or a defiant holding on.

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Threatened with the extinction of the excessive, lots of people are actually reaffirming their love for the outlandish, the audacious, the ostentatious and over-the top expressions of the now-mature automaker’s technology capable of producing dream machines.

There is a definite push-back in “mainstream” culture with what in some quarters is perceived as the threat of electric cars, penny pinching hybrids, and loosely related “clean” technologies that some fear may propose to take all the fun away from cars and trucks.

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So, as sustainable and environmentally conscious choices continue to be introduced, there are those clinging all-the-more to faster, more powerful, more raucous and wasteful expressions of the carbuilder’s art.

As such, more vehicles today are available for the cost of a nice house in the suburbs, or with over 500-plus horsepower than have ever been, even as we also have more production electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids, and “clean diesels” now and promised.

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So you can pick your metaphor to describe the diverse state of the culture today.

Looking at it from a culinary angle, the tasty automotive fare on display in New York this week is like a trip to a gourmet restaurant with lots of fattening but delicious treats to be had.
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