U.S. Oil Dependency

John Munford's picture

Why oh why can't Congress get tougher with American auto companies?

The CAFE (fuel efficiency) standards aren't near as stringent as they need to be. Who's getting the kickbacks?

I'm no tree hugger, but $3 a gallon oil sure has my attention. I sure hope automakers will soon catch up technology-wise with a far more efficient mid/full size car at the VERY least.

The guy in me wants one of the new Dodge Chargers that all the cops are drooling over.

The dad in me wants something with a tailgate that gets good mileage, even if it means going with one of those funky looking Honda Elements.

But the enviro freak lurking deep in my subconscious wants one of those Mini Coopers. I'm afraid I'd have to rip out the driver's seat so I can drive from the back seat, though.

A lot of U.S. automakers are talking more about "green" vehicles in their commercials. Talk is cheap. Show me results.

If we as Americans demand more, we'll get more. But it sure would be nice if our lawmakers on Capitol Hill would lower the boom to get more green production from Detroit, et al.

Remember people, you can vote at the polls and you can vote with your pocketbooks.

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muddle's picture
Submitted by muddle on Thu, 08/17/2006 - 11:06am.

Mini Coopers are cool, but you don't need to go quite that small to get the mileage.

I drive a 94 Civic EX with manual transmission. It is a comfortable (and stylish) vehicle, and I'm getting close to or at 40 mpg hwy. I only paid about $15k for it new. I can't really see the motivation to buy a new Honda Fit over the Civic.

My 94 Odyssey is getting in the low to mid 20s on the hwy--not too bad considering all of the room and comfort.

My son has an Element and loves it. If they would have put sunroofs in them I might have considered one when I bought the Civic. The look of it is an acquired taste, but I have acquired it.

I just checked http://www.fueleconomy.gov and saw that the Accords do fairly well--in the 30s on the hwy.

Submitted by petty on Tue, 09/22/2009 - 12:29am.

Yeah, between Mini Coopers and Honda, majority of enthusiasts buy Honda cars as an alternative to gas guzzlers. Honda Element is a great choice, but preferably I'll get Honda CRV with interesting honda crv accessories on it.

kimberlyinptc's picture
Submitted by kimberlyinptc on Wed, 08/16/2006 - 11:26pm.

always the government that needs to 'fix' our problems? John, you ask "why can't congress get tougher with American auto companies"? I ask, why can't Americans get tougher on themselves? Although I was but a mere baby, I remember the 'lead sled' muscle cars of the 60's and early 70's. They went the way of the dinosaur when gas was in short supply. My Dad traded in his Hurst Olds, my uncle went as far as to buy a (gulp) Corolla.
If the soccer moms get tired enough of spending $60 to fill up their Tahoe's, then the free market system will prevail and fuel efficient vehicles will take over. If people want their gas hog SUV's and are willing to pay the price, why is it the government's place to "lower the boom" on auto makers? (On a personal note...skip the Dodge Charger and wait for the new Chevy Camaro, much cooler).

christi's picture
Submitted by christi on Thu, 08/17/2006 - 7:25am.

Unfortunately, I bought it before the gas prices went up. And of course, I was too upside down when the gas prices went up to trade in. Unlike the shallow Denali driver, I don't drive it necessarily because I can afford it. I drive a big SUV because I have been in a couple of bad car accidents and frankly, I don't feel safe in cars anymore. Especially now that I have my kids' safety to consider now. No, they don't play soccer.

When I have the means, I will look into buying an SUV that is better for the environment, but I won't be buying a car. So, us "soccer moms" are not all alike.

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Thu, 08/17/2006 - 10:30am.

in my household. Really, it's the 4th choice, as the Golf Cart is used extensively.

It's paid for, and gets around 15 MPG. I drive it maybe 300-400 miles a month, when I need it.

IF it's emtpy, it cost over $100 to fill up, as it has a 42 gallon tank. Smiling

Submitted by IMNSHO on Thu, 08/17/2006 - 7:30am.

You bought an SUV, knowing that it got terrible gas mileage. You bought an SUV, and financed it poorly so that you are upside-down in it. You bought an SUV because you (mistakenly - check it out online) believe that you & your kids are safer in it than in a car. And you'll buy another one.

Sounds like a series of poor decisions that you really have no excuse for. But that's a great thing about this country. Part of our freedom includes the freedom to be wrong.

christi's picture
Submitted by christi on Thu, 08/17/2006 - 10:32am.

I have no excuses because I don't need any! And yes, I will buy another one. Unless you put a lot of money down, when you buy a new car, you will be upside down for a while. The larger SUV's like the Suburban, do not have the same risk for rollover as the smaller SUV's. They are built on a completely different chassis. You need to do a little more research on the safety of my particular car.

The gas mileage is only 2 miles less than a smaller SUV like the Explorer. I am willing to trade worse gas mileage for the safety of my car. I guarantee you, I'll be safer than you.

So get off your high horse. You don't know it all.

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 08/17/2006 - 7:53am.

I thought the SUVs were second most likely to roll over in an accident behind the small trucks? The cars that held up the best in a crash were the BMW 5 series, and VW Bug.

Submitted by IMNSHO on Thu, 08/17/2006 - 7:56am.

I went to ask.com and typed "Are SUVs safer than cars?" and came up with many, many sites that showed how cars are safer. Bigger does NOT mean safer!

PTC Guy's picture
Submitted by PTC Guy on Thu, 08/17/2006 - 8:37am.

Bigger is not always better.

But most assuredly meat in the body is far safer.

SUVs are big, but they do not have a lot of meat for their size. And they are top heavy, which is bad. Not to mention their volume ratio is low in my book.

Most high MPG vehicles are either too small to use for more than hauling one or two people around uncomfortably, or, crumble like paper in an accident.

I use a Grand Caravan. Have to have space for what I do.

At a red light, a small car rear ended the small car behind me, jamming it into me.

The front and rear of the middlc car was crushed in, including their radiator and probably more. The front of the back car was gone, bumper buckeled.

I drove away without even a scratch.

Now, picture those small cars at higher speeds.

I see accidents since I drive a lot. Small cars are scrap metal in accidents. Vans and larger cars fair a lot better.

But the larger cars and vans get half the gas mileage the small ones do.

Why? Body construction.

To get goog MPG means light frames. Light frames means less proctection.

Keeping it real and to the core of the issue, not the peripherals.

Submitted by IMNSHO on Thu, 08/17/2006 - 9:10am.

Some of the info I've seen in the online studies I've looked at:
**Average midsize/large cars have the same avg risk to drivers than the avg SUV. (Includes cars like the Ford Taurus, Toyota Camry, Toyota Avalon, Honda Accord.)
**Minivans have the lowest risk to drivers, but that may be influenced by the drivers being more careful.
**The safest compacts & sub-compacts have a lower risk to drivers than the avg SUV.
**Quality of vehicle design makes a big difference in safety, and foreign cars were found safer than domestic.

And here's a good, recent article: SUV's No Safer Than Cars

Submitted by ole sarge on Thu, 08/17/2006 - 5:37am.

Most people overlook the free market approach. The laws of supply and demand work and when the bite begins to hurt behavior will change.

Submitted by bowser on Wed, 08/16/2006 - 12:19pm.

There are a number of cool new cars that get 35-40 mpg and don't cost an extra arm and leg like the prius or other hybrids.

They include the Scion XA, the Honda Fit, the Toyota Yaris and the Nissan Versa.

They are small and not exactly macho. But they are perfect for people who don't really need a big car and are happy enough with their own genitals that they don't need an extra set on four wheels.

Notice that the manufacturers of these things are mostly Asian....Detroit still doesn't really get it.

tampabayjay's picture
Submitted by tampabayjay on Thu, 08/17/2006 - 12:20am.

That was pretty funny. I must be pretty secure with my genitals size. I drive an economy car that gets 35 mpg all day long. It may not be very macho but I get satisfaction in knowing I can fill up with 10 gallons of fuel and that will take me back and forth to the airport all week. Of course in the words of an unidentified PTC mom in her GMC Yukon Denali who was filling up next to me..."if you drive one of these, you probably don't worry about the price of gas"! Nice.

The new Hummer commercials are an example of how absolutely clueless Detroit is. If your kid gets cut in line by another and her soccer mom says too bad...go out and drop 50k on an 8 thousand pound rolling A-HOLE label. That will make ya feel better, my trucks bigger than yours!

ftp's picture
Submitted by ftp on Wed, 08/16/2006 - 12:59pm.

Let's not forget, most motorcycles get 50-80 MPG.

Submitted by SoCalMama on Wed, 08/16/2006 - 1:03pm.

Yeah right...just what I want to haul my kids around on...a motorcycle. I'd be dead within days.

Actually when we lived in California, I rode a moped to work. I only work 3 miles from home and we had bike lanes.

ftp's picture
Submitted by ftp on Wed, 08/16/2006 - 10:47pm.

not everyone in PTC has kids and drives 11 MPG Suburbans............

Submitted by IMNSHO on Wed, 08/16/2006 - 11:27pm.

have kids, drive SUVs, or even minivans. I have 4 kids (3 at home) and have driven a sedan (that gets 27mpg) for several years. And guess what? They all fit just fine in the backseat. And I've got a big trunk to haul stuff.

I just don't get the "must have a mini-van or SUV" mentality. Because, really, you don't HAVE to.

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