Last week, Automotive News reported on all the gasoline-engine automobiles offered -- or soon to be offered -- with a 40-mpg highway rating.
It is amazing that the industry could develop so many models so quickly. A few years ago that would have seemed impossible.
The trouble is that no one wants to buy them.
Big pickups are still hot sellers in the marketplace. With gasoline hovering around $3.50 a gallon, the nation has not reached the point where prices at the pump will affect most purchasing decisions.
American consumers still want to own and drive the biggest offerings.
If the automakers expect consumers to buy enough small, 40-mpg cars to help the companies achieve a higher corporate average fuel economy standard, they might have to force buyers who want a V-8 powered truck to put a small, high-mileage vehicle in the pickup bed.
This could become the marketing nightmare of the decade.
Without substantially higher gasoline prices, which no one wants to see, it will be nearly impossible to market high-mileage cars in any great numbers.
In anticipation of much higher CAFE requirements, manufacturers have had to engineer and design high-mileage cars long before there is real demand.
Someone may have to figure out how to get 40 mpg out of a Ford F-150 or a Chevrolet Silverado because the challenge to get people into much smaller, much more fuel-efficient vehicles is daunting.
The EPA, which monitors fuel economy, doesn't care how automakers reach the required fleet fuel economy average.
Luckily for Chrysler, the new Fiat 500 fits into the bed of a Ram. And the Mini could be towed behind a BMW 7 series or a Rolls.
The obvious solution would be for the government to add a higher fuel tax on gasoline, but getting that through Congress would make the passage of a health care bill look like child's play. Any politician who supported higher gasoline taxes would be voted out of office as soon as possible -- and that goes for both parties.
The automobile companies can only hope, against the wishes of everyone else, that the price of gasoline goes up at least another dollar a gallon. Then the car companies in America could breathe a collective sigh of relief.
No one wants higher gasoline prices -- unless he or she has to sell small, fuel-efficient cars.