A car fit for the future

While “Detroit is partying like it’s 1979,” says Joseph B. White in The Wall Street Journal, Honda has jumped ahead to 2012. The regular gas-powered Honda Fit gets about 30 miles to the gallon, meeting U.S. fuel efficiency standards set to kick in in four years. That makes the Fit the breakthrough Honda Civic of the late 70s, only safer, earning the government’s “five-star rating for front passenger protection.” Meanwhile, big SUVs “are gathering dust on dealer lots,” making them the “gas-guzzling Pontiac muscle cars” of the 70s. We’re not all ready to downshift to Fit-sized cars, but with gas nearing $4 a gallon, “a lot more of us are than were a year ago.”

A greenback revival?

The U.S. dollar could finally be near the end of “its long slide against other major currencies,” says . The greenback has strengthened since its record low against the euro on April 22, thanks largely to the U.S. Federal Reserve, which has started “dialing back on its policy easing.” But although the weak dollar “can be a sore spot” for U.S. pride and U.S. pundits and politicians, it’s really a mixed blessing. It has given export-heavy manufacturers here, and thus the U.S. economy, a “shot in the arm.” But U.S. consumers tend to pay a higher price. So without revived economic growth, a stronger dollar will be “small comfort.”