By on January 24, 2008

chop.jpgGM Car Czar Bob Lutz wants you to know what's on his mind. So, at last night's Automotive News congressional confab, Maximum Bob let rip, revealing the concerns triggering the suit's septuagenarian synapses. But, as usual, there are major gaps between Bob's thoughts and actual reality. 

Back in '03, I predicted that the automotive industry was on the cusp of a New Golden Age…To my credit, I didn't say exactly when this was going to happen… I would argue that the industry is in much better shape than it was five years ago, and that General Motors is in a lot better shape too.

News flash: The Big 2.8 are all losing money. GM has just lost its title as the world's largest automaker (if you discount cars made under a minority partnership agreement with China's SAIC and Wuling). To my simplistic mind, "better shape" doesn't mean closing factories, buying-out workers and losing market share in your home territory. But Bob's not worried.

I don't think about [global leadership]. And the answer would be the same whether today's numbers said General Motors is Number One, or Number Two…or tied!

So why all the press releases proclaiming GM's still number one– by a mere 3k sales? Oh that's right: Maximum Bob doesn't think about it.

The bottom line is, we are running the business in the best interest of the customers, employees and shareholders.

Tell that to the laid-off employees and the remaining GM workers with reduced pay and benefits, because their employer can't make enough money to afford them. But hey, never mind, the circus is in town. And Bob's busy thinking about the press' comments about the Detroit Auto Show.

"How can you possibly not find any buzz at an auto show that includes so many examples of the world's most advanced propulsion technology? 

Like… a "hydrogen-powered" Cadillac without an actual propulsion system?  

[c]onsumer behavior is difficult to change, and it when it does change, it takes time, and a darn good reason.  

I'm not so sure about about the first part of that assertion. GM and the others managed to change American car buyers' behavior pretty quickly in the ‘70's and ‘80's. But MB's right that consumers need a good reason to change. Only Bob thinks Americans will give up their trucks and SUVs only if gas prices rise sharply to levels near what they're paying in Europe.

In other words, let's not focus our corporate resources on offering Americans a high-quality, well-engineered small car (at a profit) that might entice consumers to change. Let's legislate high fuel prices so consumers have to change– regardless of what we offer. And there I was thinking Lutz was against federal intervention in the free market. And speaking of boondoggles…

[t]he best route to a significant near-term reduction in petroleum usage is E85… [I]f all the flex-fuel vehicles that GM, Ford, and Chrysler have committed to have on the road by 2020… were to run on ethanol, we could displace 29 billion gallons of gasoline annually.

Considering the cost of converting existing products to "flex fuel" (a couple of hundred bucks), considering that GM just bought a chunk of an ethanol company, considering the federal fuel economy credits given to cars that will never touch a drop of corn juice, Bob's enthusiasm for E85 is no surprise.

But that doesn't make it right. E85 is an unsustainable con that will collapse under its own weight. While you can’t blame GM for playing the con, why do I think they actually believe that ethanol is the answer?

Electrically driven vehicles powered by lithium ion batteries represent the… future of the… industry. A year ago, everyone was saying, "What's GM doing with this car that's allegedly going to run on lithium ion batteries, which we all know won't work in a car?"

We're still asking what GM's doing with the Volt. Despite all their promises, they've yet to come up with a viable battery for the electric – gas hybrid. 

This and other advancements may be years away, in reality, but we're going to be ready, because we're developing the vehicles [and] the electronic control technology… today.  We are going to be ready, more ready than anyone else is going to be, when the battery technology is beyond what it is right now.  

A noble goal, indeed. But when tomorrow's batteries are ready, today's technology probably won't work with it any more than 1999's OnStar will work with today's digital cellular network.  

You're going to see, gradually but emphatically, the auto industry enter a whole new age

When this new age arrives, will GM be around to witness it? Either way, GM's future will be Bob Lutz' legacy.

[The GM fastlane blog links to a pdf of Mr. Lutz' speech.] 

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34 Comments on “Between The Lines: A Look Into Bob Lutz’ Mind...”


  • avatar
    thalter

    MB is right about one thing: Most Americans are going to buy the largest vehicle they can afford to buy and fill, no matter how “compelling” the small cars are. This is simple human nature.

    There are “high-quality, well-engineered small cars” in Europe because there is demand for them, and this demand is driven by fuel prices. Up until recently, there has been no demand in the US, and it remains to be seen what the true demand is for premium compact cars in the US.

  • avatar
    hansbos

    The guy is clearly a windbag, but he is right about the fuel tax solution to saving gas and reducing gas consumption. His proposal to gradually increase the federal fuel tax is a much better way to increase average fuel economy than CAFE standards. By the way, the link is fixed.

  • avatar
    AKM

    This is simple human nature.

    Interesting, because I’m sure plenty of people on this site think differently. Why would cars like a Cayman, a GTI, or even a 3-sries be so popular otherwise? Many people want cars that fit their needs from a space perspective, but retain low mass and weight to increase sportiness and fuel-economy.

    It’s very true that a large part of european demand from small cars come from high fuel prices, as well as narrower roads, but not entirely: having so many good small cars at their disposal, Europeans realize that bigger is not better…..that is, unless they want to show off, as the rise in SUV sales demonstrates!

  • avatar
    threeer

    And as long as we think we can afford to drive our big ol’ honkin’ SUV’s today, we will…without any regard or concern about what our kids (and their kids) will either have to pay or be stuck driving a decade or two from now. As consumers, we’re very much “in the moment” and could really care less about anything other than the immediate future. There is a market for nimble, fun AND economic vehicles…it just isn’t going to be America anytime soon. Ok…my time on the mound is done, stepping down now for the next speaker…

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    Simple human nature?

    That’s like saying it’s simple human nature to desire a triple-patty hamburger, or a 12,000-square-foot McMansion, or a vacation in Las Vegas. Not a soul I know well enough to consider a friend wants any of those. Or a vehicle with three rows of seats.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Most Americans are going to buy the largest vehicle they can afford to buy and fill, no matter how “compelling” the small cars are. This is simple human nature.

    That’s funny because I don’t fit that profile, and nor do a lot of people I know. I prefer to live within my means, that includes having the right sized car and house that meets my needs not as big as I can possibly get just I can get it.

    Maybe if more American’s stopped buying the largest vehicle, house, meal, etc. they could find we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in now. Huge national debt, congestion, urban sprawl, overweight population, dwinling resources…

  • avatar
    frontline

    Lets get real about this guy. Can we credit him with most of this new GM product? I don’t know but if we can that would be a hell of a legacy already. He is seventy something and he is still sharp as a tack. He is still flying military style jets ,has a hell of a sense of humor and the sob still looks damn good too.
    Can you imagine the hurtles at GM? Look what he has accomplished . Just a few years ago I would not have bought anything from GM except something from the truck line. That CTS is absolutly gorgeous and exciting for a sedan and the Corvette is very desirable at that price point. How about that Malibu? Considering that Bob is not at the top of GM’s food chain, I think at minimum he has done great things for the company.

  • avatar
    Matthew Danda

    Don’t be so quick to judge those who drive big cars. Those of us with kids need to fit rather large (legally required) child safety seats in the vehicle, plus they must be in the back seat. If you have three or more kids, you ain’t gonna make it in a Prius.

    When you/we were growing up, sure, you could throw the whole pee wee football team in the tailgate. But not anymore. Child car seats are freakin huge, and there is no way around installing and using them. So big cars are ESSENTIAL and UNAVOIDABLE for families that need to transport 3 or more kids.

  • avatar
    mgrabo

    In support of Matthew Danda’s point, large cars become attractive as soon as you’ve got two kids. My daily driver is a Mazda6 Wagon (3.0L/5M) – the two car seats for my 4yo & 1 mo require the entire back seat. Running errands that involves grandparents, friends, etc. isn’t an option in the Mazda. Our Tahoe by virtue of it’s width accommodates both safety seats and leaves room for a 3rd rear seat passenger…then the 3rd row comes into play.

    The US housing stock was built in such a way (read as: sprawling) that driving is necessary in most communities. Minivans, CUVs, SUVs, etc. are necessary to transport the typical American family so these unexciting vehicles will continue to be in demand for the foreseeable future. I’m curious why more diesel & hybrids haven’t been developed in this segment – not many of them are fun to drive even with petrol powerplants

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    Can we credit him with most of this new GM product?

    No one man deserves the credit and if he does deserve it then he also deserves to have his butt kicked for the marketing mayhem around the launch of the Mailibu-bu and the Enclave. A lot of people assume that these new products are game changers and will turn around GM’s fortunes but there is no evidence to suggest that it’s happening or will happen anytime soon. Until that happens no one should be claiming credit. Mr. Lutz is a liability to GM not an asset. He can talk up these products and all the things GM is/is not doing and will/may not do in the future but until GMNA is back in profit he should keep his mouth shut and stop saying things he or some other GM suit will contradict the next day.

  • avatar
    NetGenHoon

    x2 on the car seats. Kids have to be in a child restraint of some sort until 14 years old in OH, regardless of age. Also not in the front seat due to airbags… I can’t take my A4 to pick up my niece and two nephews even just to go and get ice cream, the seats don’t fit.

    Stick that in your CAFE pipe and smoke it….

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    “The guy is clearly a windbag, but he is right about the fuel tax solution to saving gas and reducing gas consumption. His proposal to gradually increase the federal fuel tax is a much better way to increase average fuel economy than CAFE standards.”

    NO! NO! NO! (picture Khruschev banging shoe on table at UN to emphais point

    Merely because one prefers small cars (I like em too) doesn’t mean one should decide someone elses automobile choice throught taxes. Because that will reduce everybodys choice in cars.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Let’s face, most people do buy the biggest vehicle that they can afford. (That goes for Europeans, too – their governments just tax fuel so much that most of them cannot afford to buy anything larger than a VW Golf of Ford Focus.)

    Please note that all of you do NOT represent the typical American new vehicle buyer.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    What is a typical american new car buyer?

  • avatar
    Potemkin

    All is well at the General eh Bob? I don’t think so or why would the general be pulling the rear wheel drive Impala out of Oshawa and sending it to Michigan. They are spending mega bucks in Oshawa to convert the plant to build it but now all Oshawa has is the hope of the Camaro. The General despite the bravado from the Towers is in retreat and a sure sign is pulling production out of a Canadian plant that has the highest quality and lowest costs in the corp (if you don’t count off shores where they work for pennies a day).

  • avatar
    1169hp

    “Like…a “hydrogen-powered” Cadillac without an actual propulsion system?”

    The Cadillac Provoke is just a concept car [an idea]. As such, I can give GM a pass on the lack of “propulsion system” right now. There were probably a slew of concepts at COBO, this year and years past that were a few hundred pounds light over the front axles.
    DT

  • avatar
    yournamehere

    I think GM is heading in the right direction. one day they are criticized for having an obese labor force, then the next they are criticized for laying off those same people?! how does that work? they are making tough decisions for the betterment of the company.

    they are making HUGE leaps forward with the products. when they actually sat down and focused on building a good car they did. The CTS, and Malibu are world class cars and the crossovers are very competitive. they are not going to change the world over night, but they are going the right direction.

    What they need to do is build TWO awesome generation of the same car before things will really start turning around for them. They need a few years of potential customers over hearing someone say “My new Malibu is an awesome car, im getting the new one when it comes out”. and then the kids of those customers will by GM also. My dad has only owned a VW or Audi since 1984, and because of him, i have never owned anything but VW. it might not be the best car out there, but its brand loyalty.

    if GM continues on this path of good products in 5-8 years they are going to be flying high. A world class Cobalt type car would be great also.

    as for what they need to do on the corporate level. hack and slash. brands. dealers. models. midlevel execs. salaries. Model the GM Corporate culture exactly like Toyotas. hell, get a Toyota Corporate handbook and just cross out the word “toyota” and replace it with GM

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    I couldn’t help but recall the Doonesbury collection In Search of Reagan’s Brain.

    Sounds like it’s time for a, uh, Sequel.

  • avatar
    hansbos

    HEATHROI :

    Merely because one prefers small cars (I like em too) doesn’t mean one should decide someone elses automobile choice throught taxes. Because that will reduce everybodys choice in cars.

    Not necessarily. You can also reduce your gas consumption by driving less. The problem is not that there is not enough choice across the various size ranges, but that there aren’t enough fuel efficient small cars to choose from in the U.S.

    As for the car seat dilemma: car seats are mandatory in most of Europe as well. Maybe they build narrower car seats or they take two cars when they need to transport a soccer team. Better than commuting by yourself in a Suburban just because you occasionally have to run an errand involving more than 2-3 kids.

    We need a gradual, but major, increase in gas taxes, regardless of the prevailing U.S. dogma against such taxes.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    “I’m always amused by the “we need a nine-seat car” whine, “because there are the kids, and the au pair, and the kids’ friends, and the au pair’s boyfriend…” How did things get so out of control? Most of you aren’t old enough to even remember when your grandparents–in my case it was my parents–had a ’53 Chevy with two bench seats that worked just fine, and I had three brothers. We made choices.

    It’s like cellphones: I remember my family’s phone number when I was growing up: Yorktown three-three-zero, and it was a party line. Area code? What’s an area code? (I’ll assume that at least a few of you are old enough to know what a party line was.) People yelled, “ITS LONG-DISTANCE!” if somebody called from Chicago, it was a big deal. Today we require cellphones that sit up and beg, and as with automobiles, I wonder if it’s an improvement.

    I fly my own airplanes, but I don’t use a cellphone…

  • avatar
    rtz

    An electric powered vehicle can be sold on the merits of: costs less then the fuel powered version of the same vehicle, out performs the fuel powered version. Enough of today’s batteries can be installed to make range per charge a none issue.

    Electricity does not have to be generated from coal or NG. Even if it is, it’s much easier to implement extensive emission controls on a stationary item such as a power plant where size and weight don’t matter then on a mobile polluter such as a Honda Civic.

    You burn gasoline, you create CO2. Someone always brings up the argument about instead of polluting out of the tailpipe with an electric, the power plant is doing it instead. Wind, solar, hyrdo, geo. Even nuclear. It’s been decades since a modern plant was built. It would be impressive to see the difference between a plant built today vs’s the last ones ever built decades ago.

    It’s much more convenient to plug your car into the outlet in your garage sometime after you get home from work and before you go to bed then standing out in the cold wind at the gas station huffing fumes:

    http://www.plasmaboyracing.com/videos/Refueling_Blue_Meanie_480x360.flv

  • avatar

    rtz :

    That’s one theory.

  • avatar
    Stu Sidoti

    Think whatever you want about Bob’s public persona but know this-while Lutz by no means deserves total credit for the improved cars and trucks coming from GM today and tomorrow…he does nearly single-handedly deserve credit for doing two things that were very hard to do at GM pre-Bob…

    1:Removing barriers…Whenever some luddite threw up a block to an improvement based upon GM’s old ‘best practices’ or ‘standard operating procedures’ so they could hide behind ‘the rules’ and not have to INNOVATE, Bob would have these little cards he would hand to the person or staff in question; on one side it would read (I’m paraphrasing) ” Who told you that?” and on the other side it would read ” Tell me why we can’t do it?” and if you got one of those little cards, you had to provide the answer that day…and once Bob had the answers he would have his staff review the reason ‘why not’ and if the ‘best practice or SOP’ needed to be removed or updated, it was. That simple act has been such a liberating force for the creative people within GM who for decades have had their hands tied by the old ways. He has always indicated that his main objective was to put in place a system of creating and developing products that encouraged people to participate in the creative process and by first removing a lot of barriers he has made more of a difference than you may be able to see right now, but this by itself, asking Who? and Why Not? has made a huge impact on the process and greatly improved the morale…Huge.

    2: Putting the product first: Lutz loves, collects and even tinkers on cars and truly has ‘gasoline in his veins’ something that GM has not seen in the executive staff in a long, long time and with Maximum Bob at the Product Czar helm he has elevated the importance of Design and Engineering to be the driving force of any program and to now be the measure of any program’s success. I think if you look back at GM’s products from the 70’s until very recently you can pretty plainly see with a few exceptions that Design, Quality and Engineering were clearly not the main focus of their programs. Today and tomorrow it is.

    Is GM out of the woods? Not yet, but on the product side, Lutz has done more to help them get out of the woods than most people realize and while he may say some things people disagree with or stick his foot in his mouth, or love to hear himself talk a bit too much, he has done a lot of good for the GM product development process that will pay dividends for years to come by reversing a culture of ‘We Can’t’ and promoting a culture of ‘We Can’.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    I don’t like Lutz, but that’s because we’re both pilots (and I’ve flown the same “jet fighter” that is actually a trainer that he owns) and whenever we’re together–I’m a car writer–he is infuriated by whatever I might have to say about flying that contradicts or overshadows his own war stories.

    But I appreciate what Stu Sidoti has to say, and since he’s obviously an insider, it gives me new appreciation of what Lutz is about,

    And tells me I should have kept my mouth shut about flying when I’m around him. He probably knows more about it than I do.

  • avatar
    Stu Sidoti

    Stephan: Thank you for the kind words…I’m not so much a GM insider but I do work for an automotive design & engineering consultancy and I’ve worked with many OEMs around the world. My incite comes mostly from friends who are ‘true insiders’.
    Funny story you shared about you and Lutz’s interplay over war stories! I have a friend in SoCal that flys a similar Polish-made trainer jet, quite the rush!!

  • avatar
    Thomas Minzenmay

    Bob Lutz:
    I don’t think about [global leadership]. And the answer would be the same whether today’s numbers said General Motors is Number One, or Number Two…or tied!

    Automotive News:
    General Motors had a solid year in 2007, with global sales up 1.9 percent from 2006. But it is now the world’s second-largest automaker.
    GM slipped well behind Toyota Motor Corp. in global sales. GM sold 8,885,599 total vehicles in 2007, while Toyota says it sold an estimated 9,370,000. Toyota will issue an official total in about a month.
    It was widely reported this week that the two automakers finished in a dead heat for the No. 1 spot. Here is why: GM includes in its total 516,435 vehicles of the Wuling brand in China.
    But GM owns only 34 percent of the Chinese company that produces Wuling vehicles, SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co.

    Looks like GM desperately tries to remain #1, whatever Bob may say…

  • avatar
    speedbrakes

    I used to be a quasi Lutz supporter than someone turned me on to this guy named Boyd…….and its all starting to make sense.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    And that would be the great John Boyd–another prickly guy.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Bob Lutz is GM’s Nick Naylor, the tobacco industry mouthpiece in “Thank You for Smoking”. He’s not stupid – just towing his employer’s unsupportable claims on fuel, sales, consumer trends, car design, etc. No one believes his bullshit, but he sure does.

    His E85 comment is classic. E85 is a sham, and one that only Iowans could love (although it sounds like they’re now getting a clue).

  • avatar
    M1EK

    The idea that there’s been no demand for small cars until recently is GM FUD. Honda and Toyota were selling hundreds of thousands of Civics and Corollas each year even when gas was less than a buck.

    There’s MORE demand now, but there was always a decent demand – GM just couldn’t be bothered with it.

  • avatar
    akitadog

    This whole issue with needing larger vehicles for larger families is not really what’s going on. The REAL issue is that we Americans want our HORSEPOWER.

    There are many cars sold in both Europe and the US, large and small. The difference? In Europe, the ENGINES in these cars are half to a full size smaller than in the US.

    Look at the BMW 1 series. You can get inline 4s in gas or diesel on the other side of the pond and the car is still fun to drive. Here, we won’t get anything smaller than a 3 Liter 6!

    We could still buy the Pilots and Tahoes for the space some of us need, but would any of us buy a Pilot with a diesel 4-cyl or a Tahoe with a V6?

    We’ll be damned before it takes more than 9 seconds to get our Siennas to 60 mph!

    So, our vehicles won’t necessarily have to downsize, but the powertrains will. The question is, will we tolerate that?

  • avatar
    jthorner

    I don’t buy the argument that American’s don’t want vehicles which deliver flexibility, fuel economy and adequate performance as opposed to oversized, overpowered disposable vehicles.

    Prius sold about 175,000 units in the US in 2007, most of which went to people with the financial means to buy larger, more expensive vehicles. Buick sold about 185,000 units of all it’s models combined in 2007.

    Prius’ “typical buyers are 54 and have incomes of $99,800; 81 percent are college graduates.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/24/AR2007072401855.html

    Hmmm, that sounds exactly like the heart of Buick’s traditional demographic.

    Mr. Lutz continues to completely miss the boat on the direction the US market is going. The best selling car in the US is a four cylinder Toyota Camry. Hardly a V-8 fire breathing monster.

    Can someone tell me where GM’s Prius competitor is???? Prius has been in the market for 10 years now and is about to go into it’s third major generation design.

    How long has it taken for GM to come up with a vehicle which MIGHT be a viable competitor for the Camry???

  • avatar
    windswords

    Stu Sidoti:

    “1:Removing barriers…Whenever some luddite threw up a block to an improvement based upon GM’s old ‘best practices’ or ’standard operating procedures’ so they could hide behind ‘the rules’ and not have to INNOVATE, Bob would have these little cards he would hand to the person or staff in question; on one side it would read (I’m paraphrasing) ” Who told you that?” and on the other side it would read ” Tell me why we can’t do it?” and if you got one of those little cards, you had to provide the answer that day…and once Bob had the answers he would have his staff review the reason ‘why not’ and if the ‘best practice or SOP’ needed to be removed or updated, it was. That simple act has been such a liberating force for the creative people within GM who for decades have had their hands tied by the old ways. He has always indicated that his main objective was to put in place a system of creating and developing products that encouraged people to participate in the creative process and by first removing a lot of barriers he has made more of a difference than you may be able to see right now, but this by itself, asking Who? and Why Not? has made a huge impact on the process and greatly improved the morale…Huge.”

    Stu this sounds a lot like what I heard about Lutz when he was at Chrysler in the ’90’s (when Chrysler was a real auto company). If he had not fouled up his relationship with Lee he would have been CEO. You think GM is bad now, imagine GM without him and the products he has championed so far. Somehow I don’t believe the burueacratic malaise at the Ren Center would have done better.

    On the Allpar site there is an interesting tidbit at the end of an article titled “Chrysler in 1992″ that states that Lutz campaigned for the top spot in much the way that Lee did at Ford in the 70’s. And like Henry II, Lee wouldn’t let him have it. But instead of firing Lutz, Lee bought in an outsider (Eaton). It also mentions that 12 of the top design engineers quit after Eaton took over, all within a short period to time. Loyalty to Lutz, or the system he had in place, or both? Or an aversion to Eaton’s more traditional executive policies?

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    I spent 3 years living in Italy in the earl 90’s. Gas was then $4.75 a gallon. Gas is now about $8.65 a gallon.

    We drove cars with engines ranging from 500cc up to big engines like we have here in America.

    A 30 year old 2-cylinder 500cc was enough to push a mini-car to 50 mph with 2-3 people on board. A city car to be sure but exactly what a person NEEDED for traffic which was moving at 35 mph or less.

    My daily driver was then an early 70’s VW Super Beetle with a fire breathing 40 HP. Despite being best suited for city car duty, I drove it from one end of the country to other several times in all weather. It was enough to go 75 mph on flat ground.

    My final car was a real step “up” in power and size. It was a nearly 200K mile ’84 Rabbit convertible that had been everywhere. Factory delivery car that toured Europe and then spent years in America then returned to Italy in the care of the original owner, wrecked, sold to me, and repaired.

    It had a whopping 1.8L four cylinder (90HP) and would run 125 mph flat out. We drove the car on the autostrada on MANY, many trips to Rome and points north cruising at 100 mph. It’s 0-60 times were prob about 10 seconds and it got about 35 mpg as I recall. It handled well, rode well, aged well, stopped well, and was a hoot to drive. My current ’97 Cabrio is not much larger but it is about 800 lbs heavier. Not as tossable. Not as much fun. Much more comfortable on the highway of course and prob safer.

    Friends drove all manner of vehicles with small engines. My Italian friends did a better job of matching their needs to the vehicle they drove. Occasionally when they needed a larger vehicle they borrowed or rented one. When they needed something heavy moved for them they either had a brother-in-law with a van or truck or the paid for delivery. It just worked… Much cheaper than operating a large vehicle all the time.

    I like small cars and will welcome more and more of them on our roads here in America. I also mostly believe in consumer free-will and want to let economics help people choose what they drive BUT if the sky-is-falling crowd is to be believed, we need to be conserving what we consume. If nothing else Asian and India will vastly change what we can buy at current prices as they hit the roads by the millions.

    Despite being a gearhead all my life, from a family of high-powered street rods, I can’t understand why folks feel they need to drive the current run of 300+ horsepower living rooms everywhere they go. Keep ‘em for weekends and drive something cheaper (to buy and feed) the rest of the time. Save your money and buy a boat, or buy your kids a house when they get married (so they aren’t paying a 30 year mortgage where the interest paid will roughly equal the principal. Then those kids if properly raised can go on to do the same for their children).

    The rest of the world is already paying the high prices, we will too – in a decade? Why not diversify our energy sources (wind, solar, coal, hydro, nuke) NOW and start changing what we drive NOW? Worst case I’m wrong and the air is cleaner.

    I don’t know about you but I only go ~80 mph on the highway and ~40 mph in town. It doesn’t take much of a vehicle to do this.

    I have been against against big government because of the waste that it creates but I am about ready for some fuel taxes to encourage folks to consider more efficient ways. If nothing else repeal tax breaks for oil companies and gas guzzlers…


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