Gauging the Green Impact of the $2,500 Car

As I wrote last week, Tata's new $2,500 car represents a huge philosophical shift in Spend Management thinking (despite my quibbles). But since the car made world headlines in just about every major publication and on every major television news network, there's been an undercurrent of environmental criticism of the vehicle and what it stands for. Here's my take: ivory tower scientists -- who I'm guessing have at least one vehicle themselves -- are driving the media into a tizzy through scare tactics discussing the potential environmental impact that making a vehicle such as the one in question available to millions of people who could not previously afford cars will have on the planet.

As I look at this criticism, I really see what amounts to a class-based argument that does not stand up under further analysis. Essentially, we're seeing scientists say that "poor people in developing countries" should not have their own vehicles just as they hop back into their own SUVs. But even if you believed in this class-based garbage, the environmental question is not that simple. Consider that the scooters and motorcycles that this vehicle will no doubt replace often emit more pollutants than the car itself thanks to different exhaust standards. Well, enough of my opinion. What do you think? As an aside, Lisa has an interesting take on the copper and metals demand impact of low-cost cars and other factors over on Metal Miner.

- Jason Busch

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