Sunday Bull Session: What Would Today’s Cars Be Like If There Had Never Been Any Regulations?


Ok, so let’s pretend that all governments (and public interest groups) had always decided to absolutely stay out of the automobile business, and let it do its thing completely unfettered: no EPA, Clean Air Act, NHTSA, CAFE, or any Euro regs. Can we use our imaginations and have some fun with this, without falling into negative black and white politics? A couple of things to keep in mind: one or two manufacturers–like Ford in 1956–tried to “sell safety” well before it was mandated, but that was quickly withdrawn, due to negative/apathetic reaction from the consumer – please don’t remind us how unsafe cars are...And the manufacturers repeatedly said they couldn’t meet future emission (and some safety) regulations without making cars completely unaffordable. So here we are today after 50 or more years without any regulations. What would manufacturers be selling and what would buyers be buying?