If I could have any

If I could have any car on earth right now, this would be my first choice.

50 mpg on the highway, a zippy turbo for quickness, and it can even run on soybean oil and old grease. Now that we’re living outside of a mass transit-friendly city, I’m mindful of the gas my car guzzles and more importantly, the area of the world it comes from and effects of such consumption. I’ve been thinking that I’d like to replace my current car with one that gets 50 mpg, but figured with putting that criteria first and foremost, spaciousness and driving pep would suffer. The Golf TDI looks like an amazing piece of engineering that solves all three problems for me (I was actually eyeing the Toyota and Honda hybrids, and the Golf before, but didn’t know they made this high-mileage version until today).

It also reminds me how disappointed I was when congress didn’t approve the increase in fuel efficiency standards a couple months back. Engineers and designers are used to working within constraints, and good ones excel at finding clever solutions to complex problems. In the absence of constraints, it could be argued that the lack of pressure to innovate means that advancement doesn’t happen. Imagine if in five years time, the average mpg of a car in the US was raised to a high number like 35mpg. I know I just came back from the most stimulating conference I’ve ever attended and I’ve still got a post-panel buzz going, but I have no doubts that you’d see some incredible innovation in a short period of time if new limits were imposed on designers. “In the future all our problems will be solved with technology” may just be short-sighted optimism, but for things like this, it really applies.