Latest Industry News

Exhaust Note #17: Driving…You'll always be #1 to me

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind anymore: fuel prices have reached a level where people’s driving habits are beginning to change significantly. We at VehicleVoice have conducted our own research that quantifies just how much people’s attitudes towards driving have changed as a result of these high fuel prices. And indeed, my own habits have changed drastically.


Image courtesy of Getty Images

You see, I’ve always loved driving. More than most other things. Ever since receiving my driver’s license, there has been nothing I’ve loved more than jumping into the driver’s seat and just driving. It didn’t matter where to, or whether I was alone or with others…I simply have always loved piloting a vehicle. Today however, fuel prices and my own personal views on oil issues have conspired to put the brakes on my old favorite past-time. Nowadays, I only drive when I have to. I combine trips and try not to make any unnecessary extraneous ones. Of course, I savor every moment of those necessary trips because those represent my times to simply enjoy being behind the wheel.

Late last week, I had a business obligation in Ontario, CA, about an hour away from VehicleVoice’s offices in Tustin. The route to there utilized two of Southern California’s least crowded freeways – the Toll Road (CA-241/261) and Interstate 15. I must say, driving to the meeting was a pleasure beyond compare. I’m talking wide open roads, pretty scenery, and none of the gridlock that we Southern Californians take for granted. For the first time in a while, I felt absolutely content and happy driving to a relatively unfamiliar place (rather than the usual trip to the office and back), taking in the sights and feeling the road beneath me. Frankly, I didn’t want the trip to end!


My actual drive to Ontario, California

The experience got me thinking about why we as a people love the automobile. It’s all really pretty simple: the automobile helps enable rich life experiences to happen. The automobile can get us to virtually anywhere we want to go, and help create rich memories along the way Think about all the car-related memories you’ve had in your lifetime…the family road trips when you were a child, your high school prom, endless college road trips, the first time you and your now-spouse went out on a date together, the day you brought your first-born home from the hospital, and so on. Yes, those things could have all happened without the automobile, but experiencing those events in your vehicle allowed them to be uniquely your own. You could go wherever and whenever you wanted to have those experiences, with the people you wanted to have those experiences with. Try that with a packed public train and its rigid timetables.
It’s hard to predict where oil prices will go in the future, and what technologies will ultimately come along to take its place. I certainly am optimistic though that the independent automobile – and the freedoms it affords – will always exist. The consumer will continue to demand it, and technology (as it always does) will continue to evolve and develop to make automobiles a reasonable proposition for whatever future realities we as humans are faced with. These future realities might necessitate us to streamline or even change how we commute or run errands, but we as humans will always have the need to just head out into the unknown and live out our lives.
The automobile will be ready – as always – to hit the road.

1 Comment

  • Karxprt| June 27, 2008 at 1:55 am

    Ah yes, I remember driving from Tallahassee to Fort Walton Beach, Florida on a balmy sunny Florida day in my 1968 Torino GT Convertible with the top down. Driving through the forested rural Florida roads was a delight and when getting to Fort Walton Beach cruising the city – well before today’s tourist boom – was beyond compare. You are right Ed, these experiences are tough to beat.

Back to top