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The Tata Nano

Feb 4


An Indian auto manufacturer plans to sell a two-cylinder, 5-passenger automobile for just $2,500. Some predict that the Tata Nano will become the Model T of the developing world.

Flickr photo by bbjee.

Of course, some government officials worry that selling affordable cars to Indians will cause too much congestion and parking problems. Only the government would think like that. Imagine how ABC, CBS, and NBC would react if someone found a way to make televisions more affordable: “O woe is us! More affordable TVs will just make the demand for quality television higher.”

Others will worry about peak oil and global warming. Never mind that the Nano is expected to get 54 miles per gallon. I am sure some won’t be satisfied with any car that uses any fossil fuels at all (not that they will stop driving one — but they will claim that they were “forced” to do so by the General Motors conspiracy).

Some of the comments on the New York Times article bemoaned the possibility that “another 200 million people driving cars” will increase the cost of gasoline. But who are we to say that only Americans and Europeans should enjoy the benefits of automobility?

Never forget that the automobile is the greatest invention of the last 200 years, one that has greatly increased the average American’s personal income and quality of life. Whether the Nano will do that for others is as yet unknown. But we should be happy for them if it does.


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Reprinted from The Antiplanner