Ok, so this isn’t exactly a trend, and it has little bearing (yet) on the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. But I thought I’d point it out anyway: Smart cars—the product of a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and Swiss watchmaker Swatch—are now available for sale in the US. Just two have been sold so far, but there are plans for more.
They had to do a little tweaking to the design—including adding airbags—to make sales legal in the US. But the mini-cars get 50-60 miles per gallon, and I’m told that in Vancouver, BC—where the Smart has already been available for a while—it’s legal to park them perpendicular to the curb. They’re that tiny.
It’s way, way too early to call this sort of thing a trend. But it could be a sign that, with gas prices reaching new and dizzying heights seemingly every week, the appeal of fuel-efficient vehicles is beginning to catch on in the US.