When we heard the auto industry’s recent request for lower federal miles per gallon standards, we were stunned! They argue that since gas is so cheap, and there is such a demand for low MPG trucks that the 2025 Standards are too costly to achieve. There was no mention of the cost to all of us if we continue to burn that amount of carbon.

Are there no financial consequences to damaging our health and quality of life, or the destruction of property if we burn more? Acting like gas is going to be cheap forever and control on pollution isn’t necessary is very short-term thinking at best. The consumer will be ultimately victimized.

What about the ultimate cost to auto buyers stuck with gas guzzlers?  What about the cost of lost auto industry jobs to more efficient imports? What about the cost of reduced American exports because they no longer meet the importer’s mileage standards? The auto industry is only citing cheap gas.

We guess the thinking goes that if gas is cheap, why would a consumer want to buy a high MPG vehicle? Consumers want bigger, more inefficient vehicles. So, lower the standards and give them what they want.

But the state governments may have something to  say about this. For instance, if California has stricter standards, what is the cost for the industry tooling up for two markets, one that has lower standards and one that has higher standards?

We think the auto industry is underestimating the consumer.

The consumer is beginning to realize that climate change related catastrophes are expensive and the costs are ultimately borne by them through taxation and increased insurance premiums. How many more superstorms, how many more super fires, how many more floods, droughts, vector-borne diseases will it take? How much more will the consumer pay for food, clothing, and everything consumable before they all connect the dots?

There is a good reason for regulations and standards. Any organized society has an obligation to protect its own citizens and future generations from their consumers’ own short-sighted buying patterns. The auto industry has not been held responsible for these associated costs – yet. And they can always point the finger at the consumer and say, “Well, that’s what they asked for!” And in the absence of environmental and health standards there is no long-term protection. Is it OK to hurt the environment permanently along with your health and property – and that of your children – for a temporary reduction in your fuel bill?  We think not.

How far do we take this laissez faire philosophy? Do we do away with warning labels and prohibitions on poisonous ingredients in our food so that industry doesn’t have to bear the cost of compliance? Let the buyer beware? “Oh, come on,” you may say, “That’s a bit of a stretch.” But we are allowing the growth of a technology we already know to be poisonous to the environment and ultimately to us? And before all those warning labels on food? People were buying and consuming products that were harmful to them.

Let’s not give up on what most of the rest of the world has committed to: Higher mileage standards. It is about saving our environment and all the long-term costs associated with losing it. We shouldn’t burn more gas because it’s cheap! We shouldn’t burn more gas, period. Not today and not tomorrow. Take a stance and do the thing that is right for the environment, your healthy, and future generations.

 

Who Are We.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse in 1986, to the board room of E&J Gallo, where they successfully sold their brand in 2005. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful and help corporations achieve entrepreneurial cultures to engage and empower their people.

Currently they travel the world keynoting at universities, corporations, conferences and symposiums. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals; along with being FOX News Radio Network’s Workplace Culture Experts. They are also the recipients of the 2014 Distinguished Entrepreneur Speaker Award from the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Bradley University. Visit their popular brand building site at www.thebrandauthority.net. To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact info@thebarefootspirit.com.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders