Auto Mania

Auto Mania

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The twentieth-century American experience with the automobile has much to tell us about the relationship between consumer capitalism and the environment, Tom McCarthy contends. In Auto Mania he presents the first environmental history of the automobile that shows how consumer desire (and manufacturer decisions) created impacts across the product lifecyclea€”from raw material extraction to manufacturing to consumer use to disposal. From the provocative public antics of young millionaires who owned the first cars early in the twentieth century to the SUV craze of the 1990s, Auto Mania explores developments that touched the environment. Along the way McCarthy examines how Henry Forda€™s fetish for waste reduction tempered the environmental impacts of Model T mass production; how Elvis Presleya€™s widely shared postwar desire for Cadillacs made matters worse; how the 1970s energy crisis hurt small cars; and why baby boomers ignored worries about global warming. McCarthy shows that problems were recognized early. The difficulty was addressing them, a matter less of doing scientific research and educating the public than implementing solutions through Americaa€™s market economy and democratic government. Consumer and producer interests have rarely aligned in helpful ways, and automakers and consumers have made powerful opponents of regulation. The result has been a mixed record of environmental reform with troubling prospects for the future.The appeal was in the stylinga€”in fashiona€” and they turned heads as no small cars had during the twenty-year rise of light trucks. In fact, BMW put Minis on top of SUVs and drove the SUVs around U.S. cities to introduce the new car.32 New styling ... and Dodge Magnum in 2004 and Chevroleta#39;s SSR in 2003 suggested that the American market had entered a period ... As in 1973, the sharp increase in the price of oil and gasoline occurred while a trend toward smaller cars was alreadyanbsp;...

Title:Auto Mania
Author:Tom McCarthy
Publisher:Yale University Press - 2007


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