"Carbon footprint" seems to be a bit of a buzz phrase in this part of the world - basically the idea that a responsible person tries to put as little CO2 into the environment as possible, both directly and indirectly seems to have some sort of resonance with trendy soccer Moms, film stars and the like.
This is hardly compatible however with Americans bitching about the price of gas - recently it's hit $3 a gallon. For those used to litres, a gallon is about 3.78 litres so the equivalent in the UK would be hovering just under 40p a litre. It seems to be pretty true to say that unless you're living in an oil producing nation, you're not going to get much cheaper.
Rather than thanking their lucky stars however, America has chosen to compensate - quite simply, cars here are bigger and guzzle more fuel. When we arrived in the country, we figured something similar to our car in Israel would be fine - a 1.6l is fairly standard and the Mazda 3 (with a 1.6l) engine is the most popular family car.
Not a chance - as far as I can make out the only thing in the US with a 1.6 litre engine is a lawnmower or some high powered hairdryers. 1.8 seems to be the very smallest engine in common production - we have a Matrix, which is a Corolla with a boot/trunk which is considered a small or "compact" car:
Looking out on the parking lot outside my office, it looks like an SUV show - the last time I had a hire car here, they'd run out of compacts so they gave me something in that medium size range:
And were you to want something really big for a special occasion:
In short, there's a lot of moaning about the gas price but when you drive a behemoth which is completely unnecessary and environmentally irresponsible then you're not going to get much by way of sympathy from me...