RICK KRANZ

Navigation systems for all? Just ask Joe

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News.

A few weeks ago, a friend bought a portable navigation system.

Joe calls it a GPS.

He was raving about the unit, how easy it is to use. He bought the unit at a discount store, paid something like $200.

I had suggested buying the navigation system years ago. Frankly, Joe doesn’t have the best sense of direction. He often gets lost.

Joe’s motivation is the high price of gasoline.

He said getting lost from time to time was bad enough. But adding insult to injury, Joe said, was spending $4 per gallon for gasoline and barely getting 13 mpg in the city with his old SUV.

And then Joe said, “Look, I’m not the only person who gets lost. If every new vehicle was required to have a GPS, U.S. fuel consumption would be reduced.

“People wouldn’t get lost. You wouldn’t waste gas, lost, looking for an apartment or a restaurant,” he said. “The country would save millions of gallons of gasoline every year.”

An added benefit would be a reduction in emissions, he added.

Interesting idea, I said.

All it took was $4-per-gallon gasoline for Joe to become an automotive expert and a patriot.

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