Last week, when the government announced the new fuel efficiency standards for 2025, I heard a number of Detroit auto buffs snort that they were unrealistic, utopian, and impossible.
“There’s no way they can get a corporate fuel economy average of fifty-four miles a gallon, no way,” one man told me.
Well, my technical knowledge of cars is limited to knowing where to find the owner’s manual when one of those warning lights comes on. But I do know something about the history of technology, and the general pattern is this:
If the experts say something is going to happen in five years, that usually means it is happening somewhere, right now, and will be widespread within a year and totally triumphant in eighteen months.
If they say that something is technically impossible, that means that the first practical application may not appear for a year or so. There are exceptions, of course. But just consider this: