Friday, 24 Mar 2023

Americas love for cars continues will gas prices decide the midterms?

Americas love for cars continues will gas prices decide the midterms?


Americas love for cars continues  will gas prices decide the midterms?

The Henry Ford museum, in Dearborn, Michigan, is a tribute to America's obsession with the motor vehicle.

The sprawling complex, set across 12 acres, is home to early examples of the Ford Model T, the mass-produced, affordable vehicle that set the US on the path of a car-dominant culture, as well as other era-defining vehicles right up to today.

Walking past these cars, it is possible to trace the history of the car in the US. With the occasional exception, that history has been: let's make more cars, and let's make them gigantic. The tiny Model T - early versions were about 11ft long - was replaced by cars like the Chevrolet Bel Air in the 1950s, and the Cadillac Coupe deVille of the 1960s, leading to the gigantic trucks and SUVs that are bestsellers in the US today.

With gas prices recently soaring, however, many Americans are now suffering as a result of that thirst for size. It's a problem for people across the country, and with key midterm elections looming next month, the historic spike in the cost of fuel will be one of the issues that determines how the US votes.

Republicans have hammered Joe Biden and the Democratic party over the increase, despite the cost being tied to issues, including Russia's invasion of Ukraine, that are largely outside the government's control. Prices have slowly declined in recent months, but news that Opec+, the global oil production cartel, will reduce daily production by 2m barrels, has rocked the Biden administration, weeks before the vote.

That has provided Republicans with another opening to attack Democrats over gas prices, inflation and general cost of living. But outside the Henry Ford museum, the more than $120m the party has spent on ads related to inflation mostly didn't seem to have had an impact - so far.

"I truly believe that some of the higher prices that we're paying right now is the price of freedom. I mean, you know, you don't want to give in to all the dictators all over the world and you want to live in a free world, you have to make some compromises," said Louis Sommer.

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