Which is it? An EV revolution, or a gas-guzzling nation?

In 2018, two of Detroit’s three automakers announced that they will cut many of the cars in their lineups. Late last year, GM shook the industry with plans to shutter three assembly plants and lay off thousands workers across the company, and analysts expect layoffs on a similar scale at Ford. The moves unveil a stark reality: Most U.S. consumers still want larger and more powerful gasoline vehicles.

Both automakers say they’ll invest resources in electrification, and we still hear predictions that we are on the cusp of an unstoppable electric vehicle (EV) revolution.

The track of the Detroit automakers shows that the transition to electric vehicles in the U.S. will take decades to play out, and will likely be only partial. That makes steady gains in fuel economy of gasoline vehicles imperative if U.S. automakers are to remain competitive in a carbon-constrained world.