By Katie Kieffer
Common sense is making a comeback among Millennials, who would rather cruise the open road in a gas-propelled hot rod than text, hug a tree, or drive a Tesla.
Democrats and Republicans alike make the mistake of believing that Millennial drivers eschew common sense. For example, Gov. Mark Dayton (D-MN) thinks he will increase his popularity by pushing a massive gas tax that would add at least 16 cents to the price of every gallon. Meanwhile, in his own pathetic attempt to become one of the cool kids, Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-MN) was recently photographed standing beside his shiny new Tesla electric sports car.
Like every good elite who tries to maintain his “public servant” image while driving a flashy sports sedan, Garofalo told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Tesla’s line of electric vehicles are beneficial to both humans and the environment. (Garofalo failed to note Tesla’s heavy reliance on government subsidies or Tesla’s rocky track record in proving the technological, environmental or economic superiority of its vehicles.)
Many Republican strategists incorrectly believe that Millennials like myself are bleeding heart environmentalists. As we head into the 2016 elections, it’s important to understand that Millennials are actually common sense conservationists. My generation of 95 million Americans has the power to determine future elections—and it is in the interest of independents and conservatives to understand what we really think.
MTV recently conducted a study finding that Millennials are more passionate about driving than texting—and that, given a choice, 72% of Millennials would rather abstain from texting for a week than forgo the freedom to drive for seven days.
According to the MTV study, 75% of Millennials enjoy the freedom of cruising the open road and most of them are skeptics of so-called “green,” electric and fuel-efficient cars. Millennials told MTV pollsters that they do not believe fuel-efficient or electric technology is a practical long-term solution for American drivers.
Millennials may be young, but we aren’t dumb. We know that many of the fuel-efficient car companies (i.e. Fisker and A123) have succumbed to bankruptcy and technology glitches—even after ample help from taxpayers. We know that Tesla turned out to be an example of how President Obama took money out of the economy to gamble on helping the already-rich get richer, particularly men who backed his 2008 presidential bid, like Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Lastly, we know that a group of respected scientists recently published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showing that ethanol- and electric-powered cars can be dirtier than those propelled by gasoline.
Even green energy that is unrelated to motor vehicles has been shown to be harmful to the environment. For example, windmills are responsible for killing over 573,000 birds annually. It’s no wonder that Millennials hesitate to entrust their own bodies to the same technology that kills their feathered friends.
At the Detroit auto show last month, muscle cars made a big comeback with new hot rods and high-performance sports cars like the Acura NSX, the Ford GT and Fiat Chrysler’s 700-horsepower “Hellcat.” Much like their Baby Boomer parents, Millennials will be a generation that falls in love with the All-American muscle car.
Millennials are also becoming oil entrepreneurs, as I’ve written about in the past. Given that 14.4% of Millennials are unemployed—and 70% aspire to become entrepreneurs, Millennials tend to be economically vigilant individuals who place a high value on personal freedom. This is a generation that seeks to care for themselves and the planet via meaningful careers—without giving up the joy that comes from driving safe, fast and efficient gas-propelled cars.
To further illustrate my point, I’ll employ the help of Kim Kardashian—whom you may know as the attractive Millennial woman who is famous for being famous. Kardashian is often spotted pumping her own gas—and it isn’t merely a publicity stunt to showcase her derrière. Like most Millennials, Kardashian loves the freedom of cruising the open road.
Despite the fact that many of her fans are Millennials, you have yet to see a trend where Kardashian repeatedly poses for the Paparazzi while riding public transportation, Instagrams herself while standing in a field of windmills, or Tweets herself while filling the tank of a tiny electric coupe.
You may have seen an episode of the reality TV shows Kourtney and Kim Take Miami and Kourtney and Kim Take New York. But you will never see Kourtney and Kim Take The Bus—because that’s not a commercially viable concept.
Millennials don’t want to “go green” if it means “going naive.” In other words, they aren’t going to fall for so-called energy efficient technology if they know it is harmful to the economy (requires massive taxpayer subsidies); is technologically unproven; and is detrimental to the environment. For Millennials, common sense is ruling the road.