By on December 30, 2010

“You have about 5 percent of the market that is green and committed to fuel efficiency,” said Mike Jackson, the chief executive of AutoNation, the largest auto retailer in the country. “But the other 95 percent will give up an extra 5 mpg in fuel economy for a better cup holder.”

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51 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: You Want To Save The Planet, Or Are You Just Looking Where To Put That Slurpee?...”


  • avatar

    YES! YES!! YES!!! Drop everything and run out and found a cupholder design firm! We’ll make BEEEELIONS!!!

    He certainly overestimates how many advances there are left to make in the field of cupholder design. What’s he do again? He sells cars? Well then, he must know design!

    People care about fuel efficiency in direct proportion to the size of the bite fuel costs take out of their wallets. But that doesn’t make a good sound-byte. Too logic based.

    • 0 avatar
      Greg Locock

      I think you overestimate the rationality of the consumer. A rational consumer would look at the total cost of ownership, including fuel and finance and insurance, and rate that somehow against the ‘utility’ of the purchase, including how many cupholders it has and the pleasure derived from using them, and the knowledge that he has 250 hp under the hood, of which he’ll only ever use 200. This rational customer would be dead easy to sell to, but I think in the real world the salesdroid may have a point.

  • avatar
    vvk

    Watch those percentages reverse as price of fuel goes up as we come out of recession.
     
    I bet it will be 95/5 by the time gas is $10/gal.

  • avatar
    thats one fast cat

    Once again, Mike nails it.
     
    The truth is, Americans for the most part do not care about fuel economy because gasoline is and has always been way too cheap here.  We don’t pay the true cost of gasoline, and therefore we don’t factor it into our buying decisions.
     
    Nobody likes CAFE, and it frankly doesn’t work – you can’t force people to buy fuel efficient vehicles on the supply side.  If you want it to work, you have to work on the demand side.  There is a reason that Europe has lots of small, efficient cars that are safe (and pls. don’t start with the old “bigger is better” canard – if that were true everyone in the US should be driving M1A1 Abrams tanks).  If the true cost of gasoline were passed on to the consumer, you better believe we would see the average mileage of cars on the American road start to increase.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @fast cat: +100

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      Mike does not nail it. Study after study has shown that people will buy smaller efficient cars. They will buy electric cars. Or cars that run on unicorn farts, *IF* they perform similarly to what they are now driving *OR* if not, they have a price advantage. Who wants to use an electric car that has limited range and space? Well, a lot of people, BUT NOT IF IT’S THE SAME PRICE OR THOUSANDS MORE. California found this out the hard way. Back in the 90′s they passed some regulations (one thing California is good at) that automakers had to sell a certain percentage of their wares as electric vehicles or they could not do business in the state. Well, they found out that consumers expected that if the car could only do let’s say, 70% of what a fossil fuel powered vehicle could do (range, space, features, etc.) then they expected that it would only be 70% of the price. Imagine that! California has the largest percentage of greenies in the US and yet they still wanted value for their dollar. The nerve of those people! The end result? California retracted the requirement. This was covered thru several editions of Automobile News (I was a subscriber then) as the story unfolded.
      It could be different today. Electric technology has improved. Small cars are getting the features of larger cars. And large cars are getting more efficient with things like Eco-boost. You can now buy an “SUV like” vehicle that gets respectable gas mileage. The old fossil fuel ICE still seems to have a lot of life in it. But one thing hasn’t changed. In order to sell a product to wide audience the features have to match the price, especially in comparison to other choices. People are not going to give up what they like in a larger vehicle unless they have to. Unless fuel costs double in a short time someone who needs a vehicle to seat 6 and carry luggage or tow is not going to downsize. They will pay more for gas because the benefits of the vehicle features outweigh the costs of fueling it. Not because it has cool cupholders.

    • 0 avatar

      True cost of gasoline: All true, except that it isn’t true.
      In the olden days, there were these nice stickers at German gas stations that showed you how much the government takes. Gone. Well, it’s about 60-70 percent. In Germany, there is a mineral oil tax, an ecology tax, a  “crude oil stockpiling charge” and then of course 19 percent VAT on top of all the taxes.

      The true cost of the fuel, to buy the oil, to refine it, and the pittance for the gas station is only 30-40 percent. The number varies, because there are set Euro prices per liter, plus a 19 % VAT.

      California: That’s when all the golf cart companies were bought by automakers ….

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      I’ve long said that, to truly do CAFE correctly, the MPG standard should be the same for cars and light and medium duty trucks, because pickups, F-350/Ram 3500/Silverado 3500 pickups, and SUVs are commonly driven as car replacements.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @segfault: there is no way to do CAFE correctly. If ever there was a poster child for bad government regulation, CAFE is it. No other countries have such legislation. If we really are laissez-faire, then let the automakers follow their markets, not enforce some arbitrary idea of what government thinks they should produce.

    • 0 avatar
      dculberson

      @windswords: It really sounds like you agree with Mike but want to argue anyway.  He said that fuel efficiency is not as important as other factors – which is exactly what you’re saying.  If fuel efficiency was as important as other factors, people would be willing to pay more for it.

    • 0 avatar
      thats one fast cat

      @ Bertel When I talk about the “true” cost of gasoline, I ain’t just talking about the cost of discovery, refining, and delivery. There is a reason the US spends Billions (with a capital B) in the middle east, and it has exactly nada to do with our concerns about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, our concerns about Islam, etc. When the oil runs out, we are outta there. All of that money spent on the US industrial military complex is done in large part to protect our ability to access oil.

      There are other externalities that are also not included in the current cost of gasoline: increased environmental risks (i.e., deepwater horizon — all of the “easy” oil is now gone, which means more complex/risky efforts to acquire it), health risks (more gasoline being burned creates more pollutants, which in turn shows up in increase respiratory problems in the US population), and decreased abilities of conservation technologies to gain traction because gasoline is ridiculously subsidized. The true cost of bringing that gallon to your neighborhood gas station just isn’t $3.05/gallon.

      As my old man used to say: Want less of something? Tax it more. Increasing the tax/cost of gasoline to the consumer will reduce demand in a much more meaningful fashion than any other government edict/encouragement. When gas becomes expensive (and notice the key here is not “if” but “when”), you will see a shift away from 18MPG highway behemoths into more fuel efficient vehicles. This switch would do more for post 9/11 security of the United States than any military program will ever do — less money for people who don’t particularly like us is a good thing.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Having a real scientific education, I find the vast majority of what the greenies are preaching to be a bunch of bull Obama.
    However, I agree that the best means of reducing our petrol consumption is to let the prices rise.  However, it must be a “natural” rise created by demand, rather than another ill-conceived artificial disaster hatched by congresss-critters – few if any of which could pass an elementary physics course.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark MacInnis

      I care not that folks in Washington can’t pass a physics class.  Okay, maybe the ones on the NASA committees and the Science and Technology committees should….

      No, what bothers me is the morons in Congress, and the senate and their staffs, etc., etc., ad infinitum ad nauseum….NONE of them appear to demonstrate the ability of the average college student to pass Econ 101.

      Shoot ‘em all.  Let God sort ‘em out.

  • avatar
    west-coaster

    I’ll never forget a brief encounter with a guy at a Shell station right next to I-5 in the summer of 2008 when prices had gone well past $4 per gallon.

    He was at the pump next to mine, and was driving a dually pickup with chrome everything and a tonneau over the bed. (In other words, it wasn’t a “working man’s” truck but more of a “look how cool and macho I am” truck.). I think it cost him over $100 for his fill-up, and we exchanged pleasantries, enjoy-your-trip, etc. I had gone into the mini mart to get a drink, then came back outside just as he was getting back on the highway.

    The on-ramp was right behind the station, and I watched him take the ramp AT FULL THROTTLE THE ENTIRE WAY DOWN. Yes, down. It was a downhill ramp, and there was absolutely no reason to drive the way he did, other than to “give ‘er some exercise” or whatever. (Now that I think about it, I seem to remember he was one of those guys who bought 91 octane gas for what appeared to be a mechanically stock truck.)

    So I always use that guy as my example of how a lot of Americans treat energy and its cost. They want to bitch about it, but unless we end up with rationing (like during WWII) or lines to buy gas (like during the ’70s), they’ll just keep doing what they’ve been accustomed to doing.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      I see that quite often here in northwestern NM.  It seems that so many drive their big ass show trucks and then complain about the price of fuel.  And then whenever a light turns green, especially on one of the open highways leading out of town into the desert, the race is on, wide open throttle for no apparent reason.  The latest thing  seems to be the teenage drivers of older Dodge diesel Rams that love to floor it and belch out massive amounts of black smoke in a show of toughness/machismo.  Male gorillas beat their chests to establish dominance – high school rednecks create clouds of smoke.  Oh well, when their parents buy the fuel…

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      The latest thing  seems to be the teenage drivers of older Dodge diesel Rams that love to floor it and belch out massive amounts of black smoke in a show of toughness/machismo.  Male gorillas beat their chests to establish dominance – high school rednecks create clouds of smoke.  Oh well, when their parents buy the fuel…
       
      Speaking from another part of NM… “Oh but he NEEDS that truck cause he rides bulls on the weekend!  And helps his Daddy haul hay!”  (rolls eyes)

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      Speaking from another part of NM… “Oh but he NEEDS that truck cause he rides bulls on the weekend!  And helps his Daddy haul hay!”  (rolls eyes)

      Uh-huh!

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      dastanley and others,
       
      The noisiest vehicles that pass by my office are diesel pickups with modified exhausts.  Generally owned and driven by inbred redneck assholes.

    • 0 avatar

      I hate those mid to late 90′s Dodge trucks with oppressively loud Cummins diesel belching black smoke and driven by inbred redneck assholes as Segfault put so eloquently and correctly. Some time ago we had one cut in front us going into a mall trailing clouds of black smoke, with chrome pieces vertical exhaust pipes, mud tires, girl silhouette mud flaps, Calvin peeing on a chevy logo, the works.
      Minutes later we saw the same truck diagonally parked across two spots in a already crowded mall lot, idling away. This wasn’t some pristine show truck, it was beat and obviously driven hard.Someone, not saying who of course, noticed the drivers side faced the entrance and may have wrote “Yes I do have a small penis!” on the passenger side in the caked on dirt. That “someone” probably enjoyed doing that very much and probably hoped it wasn’t noticed for a very long time.
       
       

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    People often have a lot of competing/conflicting preferences and while some people may indeed prefer to have a fuel efficient vehicle, all things being equal, most of the time things are rarely equal. As others have pointed our, cost, space, comfort, convenience and a host of other considerations influence a person’s purchasing decisions, and the degree of influence each of these things has will vary from person to person.

  • avatar
    slance66

    Suggestions that we don’t pay the “true cost of gasoline” are absurd.  We actually pay an artificially inflated price, considering how much tax is already on gas.  Some want to inflate it further to drive behavior they believe is appropriate, and there’s the nanny state again.
    Regulation has unintended consequences.  I think SUVs were in part a response to car seat laws for kids.  Suddenly, parents could not sit three kids across in the back and couldn’t move their oldest kid to the front thanks to the airbags.  So a Camry or Accord, which could hold a parent and 4 kids, could now only hold 2 kids.  For those who didn’t want a minivan, SUVs were the answer.  They are nothing more than elevated station wagons for most buyers.
    So we’re turning it around again.  Cars like the Venza and Edge are the logical successors to the old Torino wagon my folks had.  The new Explorer is unibody, not truck based.  Mileage is improving for these vehicles, over the old Tahoes and Expeditions.  But there are precisely zero cars available that can handle a family of 5, plus gear, and get 40 MPG.  We have much larger families in the U.S. than they do in Europe, and we tend to do far more driving for holidays and vacations.  Our vehicles need to do more.
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      akitadog

      “But there are precisely zero cars available that can handle a family of 5, plus gear, and get 40 MPG.”
       
      Ever heard of the Jetta Sportwagen TDI? How about the last-gen Passat Wagon TDI? Merc E-Class 320/350 Bluetec comes to mind as well for those with $$$. Though it may not quite hit 40 mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Akitadog,
       
      Let’s see if you’re right.  Try installing 2 car seats in the back of a Jetta wagon.  Then tell me what body type would fit in between those rear seats.  Slance is correct.  I’m guessing you have no kids.  The only wagons that will fit 5 with using 2 car seats are the Volvo and Merc wagons that had rear facing seats that could fold down under the storage compartment.  Other than that, it’s SUV’s and minivans.

    • 0 avatar
      akitadog

      slance and jk,
      Wait a minute, are we talking specifically about 2 to 3 infants? How many families do you know with twins or triplets? That’s the exception rather than the rule.
       
      If we get into a more realistic scenario, say, one infant seat, a booster seat for a 5-year-old, and an 8-year-old, then, yes, I think the Jetta can fit the bill.
       
      FYI, I have a one-year-old daughter and an MkV GTI. She fits in it fine.

      As well, my wife’s cousin has three kids, 13, 11 and 4. Before the 13 y-old was old enough to sit in the front, all 3 were able to fit in the back seat of their Acura TSX fine.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Much larger families in the US?
      US average household:  2.6 people
      European average:  about 2.4
      http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/peo_ave_siz_of_hou-people-average-size-of-households
      Doesn’t sound like much of a difference to me.

    • 0 avatar
      west-coaster

      Much larger families in the US?
      US average household:  2.6 people
      European average:  about 2.4

      Take Utah out of the mix and it’s probably dead even.

  • avatar
    c5karl

    That would be the Washington Post, not the Journal.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    As discussed earlier, Start-Stop tech in mainstream, conventional Internal-combustion vehicles – tech that actually works, that is – will have an incremental but ultimately far larger fuel savings than those of low-volume EVs, PHEVs, EREVs and the like. Until those vehicles make up a sizable chunk of our fleet – and they won’t any time soon – they’ll always have a negligible impact on total fuel economy, even if they do raise CAFE for marques.

    Imagine if all Camrys’, Accords’, Altimas’, Fusions’, Sonatas’ and Malibus’ engines stopped while at red lights, and actually saved fuel and didn’t disrupt normal operation. Not much fuel per vehicle, mind you, but the fact that the tech would be in literally millions of cars would add up to quite an impact, despite the lack of green leaf decals and badges on those models.

  • avatar
    snabster

    CAFE was a good regulation.  But like many things in government-regulation-world,  it is too easy to draw a straight line and try to extend it out.
    All a legacy of the Nader people. You have to give them credit that they knew how to leverage their position. Personally, I’m glad cars are more efficient, cleaner and safer than the 1970s.  Sorry, it is true.
    But the time for this sort of regulation is rapidly closing.  Without forcing wholesale hybrid machines on us, I don’t see how we can continue to improve.  There is already enough tinkering with the formulas (e85, trucks, city mileage) that the purpose is being defeated.
    The new commercial truck regs actually are a huge improvement;  they demonstrate flexibility.  Some trucks that don’t get used much (fire trucks) get exempted, others get heavy handed treatment because they drive 250K miles a year.
    And yes, the time has come to let gas prices rise.  We can capture that with a tax, and create $5 gasoline on our own, or we can make the Canadians and Arabs a bit richer.  Your choice, fox news.  I think something like 1/2 of trade deficit is crude oil.  Want to save America?  Tax gasoline.
     
     

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    No news here. It is easy to spout about what everyone else should do.  But this is often very different from what I will do when my own money is at stake.  I get a big chuckle out of a Suburban (or better yet, an Escalade) sporting my state’s optional envioronmental license plate.  You would be surprised how common this is.

    Make electric cars or 60 mpg cars economical to buy and they will sell.  Make them cost more than big comfy Impalas and just forget it.

    • 0 avatar
      mazder3

      One of my former accounts had a fleet of collector cars. Every single one had an environmental plate. Even the ’76 Eldorado Convertible.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Just a guess, but I’m guessing that the vast majority of “environmental” plates are bought for the ability to personalize them, with the destination for the extra money charged being completely irrelevant. (That’s certainly the case for the two I have).

      (edit) On a similar note, I’m constantly amused by the number of “Keep Tahoe Blue” bumper stickers I see on lumbering behemoth SUVs.

  • avatar

    The true cost of oil use means, including EXTERNAL costs. If you don’t know what that term means, 1) you don’t know enough about economics to comment, and 2) Google is your friend.

    No, the price of gas does not come anywhere near reflecting its true cost.

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      Nor does the price of anything reflect its true cost, the way you define it. The idea of including external costs in the price of things that someone does not like is nonsense.
       
      It’s like trying to determine a fair wage. What do you base a determination like that on? There’s no foundation for the concept. It means whatever you want it to mean.

    • 0 avatar

      Bzzt! Wrong, externalities are not “something someone does not like”. But thanks for playing.
       
      The pompous ignorance people on this site display about any subject other than cars is amusing.

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      Bzzt! Wrong, externalities are not “something someone does not like”. But thanks for playing.

      Adding external costs to the price of gasoline — which you think should be priced higher — is the idea that is nonsense. If you add external costs to prices, then prices are meaningless.

      The pompous ignorance people on this site display about any subject other than cars is amusing.

      Until I read your comment, I had seen little pompous ignorance on this site. That’s what’s refreshing about TTAC. Most people here respect other people’s opinions, even if they disagree with them.

  • avatar
    jbltg

    Just some observations from someone who has been driving in southern California for the past 17 years:
    1)  I can’t recall anyone ever vocalizing a complaint about gas prices; not to me anyway.
    2)  The overwhelming majority of drivers, including those in a Prius or similar vehicle, drive as wastefully as possible as if they were on their way to some emergency.  Every single day I see gas being pissed away running like hell up to red lights and then lots of braking.  The best way to save gas is there in your right foot.  All this drama, and more “accidents”, usually in order to gain a car length or two in traffic at most.
    3)  Constant use of “climate control” with the vast majority of cars being driven with the windows up further reducing fuel economy.  And in this very favorable climate!  I’ll have plenty of time to close the windows tightly when I’m dead.

    I don’t think there are many like me nursing a well-maintained fuel efficient car and for the majority of the time, driving it gently.  I regularly get mixed city/freeway mileage in the low to mid 30′s in my ’95 Miata and see no need to replace it with a hybrid or whatever as long as it is functioning reliably just to get myself around for meetings and errands.

    Everyone seems to have an excuse for using too much fuel no matter what they drive.  Even if global warming theories are incorrect, wouldn’t it be nice to have cleaner air and be able to blow off the mid-East oil assholes?

    And we could keep our tires properly inflated too, instead of waiting for technological fixes to solve this problem and then not making proper use of them.  Typically I observe the most fuel-inefficient vehicles being driven in the worst possible manner.  There must be some joy in paying at the pump for that which is beyond my feeble comprehension.

    This goes for constant use of home a/c as well.  Why even bother to live here if the climate is so “awful”?  Is it this way in other parts of the country?

    • 0 avatar
      mazder3

      You wouldn’t believe the amount of griping the flatlanders do when they move up here to “tax free” New Hampshire. “Oh, its soooo cold!” You better believe that their house is constantly cranked to 78 degrees. They buy the biggest SUV they can regardless of if they can afford it or not “I need it in the winter!”. Even though they bought their house because of the fresh air and picturesque views they moan “Everything is so far away!” Then why the *^%*&^ did you move here?!?!

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      1) Many complain about fuel prices in NM because this is oil and gas country, and the lifers here can’t understand why prices are so high when it’s pumped and refined within 100 miles of here.  Explanations of global markets and pricing do no good.  According to the locals, prices were lower 50 years ago (no accounting for inflation), and so it should remain the same forever.

      2) Ditto, although where I live, most of the drag racing to the next red light is in F-250s and the like.  It’s an arms race for the biggest truck.  The F-450 dually I saw taking up 4 spaces in Walmart a while back with one soccer mom took the prize.  Now we’re up to that. I don’t even try to compete in that – I drive a Corolla and my wife a mini-SUV.

      3) Climate control can be more efficient at certain speeds than windows down.  Generally the faster you drive, the better off you are with windows up and HVAC on.  Stop and go driving – better with windows down.  Having worked for a regional airline and having done dozens of trips to different parts of CA at one airport or another, the weather there is great compared to many other parts of the country.  Having grown up in the southeast, the combination of heat and humidity there will make you melt.  If I have A/C in my car in GA or SC, I’m using the freakin thing.  I mean, why buy it and maintain it otherwise?

      I agree with you that the low tire thing is due to pure laziness, plain and simple.  I have a cheap air compressor and a digital guage from Walmart to do my tires once a month.  It’s not that hard.

      As far as the home HVAC system goes, I agree with you as well.  Most homes in the southwest have swamp coolers which are WAY cheaper to purchase and operate over refrigerated air.  They only work in dry climates, so they would never work in the humid southeast. 

    • 0 avatar
      jbltg

      Thanks dastanley.  Yes you are correct about windows up at highway speeds and that being an appropriate time to use a/c.  I was referring to city streets which is where I am forced to do most of my driving due to freeway congestion.
      And hell yes if the weather is hot and humid use the damned thing that is what it’s for, but I see this stuff used constantly on the nicest days which are the rule here.
      I just don’t get it.  And it’s not just the kids…this is the overwhelming majority of cars on the road.
      I guess I’m just a fossil for actually enjoying a beautiful day.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      I guess I’m just a fossil for actually enjoying a beautiful day.

      I’m with you there.  Whenever we overnighted in Santa Barbara, I’d do these really long walks in the evenings around Goletta and surrounding areas.  Awesome weather in SoCal.  The beaches by LAX were fun.  There was a great bike/running path next to an arroyo in Bakersfield that I used to love to run/walk on after we were settled in for the evening.  Fresno weather was good but the Nov-Feb fog was a bitch. 

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      I guess I’m just a fossil for actually enjoying a beautiful day.
       
      I keep the windows down whenever it’s warm out, but not in the city.  There’s nothing beautiful about traffic noise and smelling other people’s exhaust.
       
      That’s actually what I hate the most about the ridiculous bathtub beltlines on most current cars.  You can’t rest your arm on the window sill when the sill is higher than your shoulder.

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      Great comments, jbltg. I live in California between San Francisco and San Jose. The weather here rarely gets very hot or very cold. The air conditioner in my daily driver — a Honda Accord — broke about 12 years ago. I never got it fixed.
       
      My wife and sons complain about it on the rare occasions they are riding with me on a hot day. You would think they were being tortured. I just roll down the window and enjoy the weather.
       
      About tire inflation, though. Underinflated tires do not rob you of much fuel efficiency. On most cars, there is no difference. You only see noticeable difference if you overinflate the tires. Make them rock hard, and you will get better gas mileage. If you can stand the bumpy ride.
       
      The myth that underinflated tires reduce gas mileage has some basis in fact. Tire deformation is one of the main components of rolling resistance. But there is a reason why we have tires instead of rolling down the road on steel rims. We need the deformation to get a smooth ride.
       
      Your points in general are well-taken. We can all do a lot to reduce our waste of fuel. Both we personally in how we drive, and the carmakers in how they design the cars they make. It can make a big difference.
       
      (Just as an aside, I am amazed at how much food is wasted in this country. In our house, we throw away spoiled food almost daily. Most of it expensive food that we bought and forgot until some bacteria started feasting on it. And the amount of food that goes to waste in restaurants? Nauseating.)

    • 0 avatar
      west-coaster

      Edmunds.com did a test of what saves fuel and what doesn’t several years ago, under several different controlled conditions. I seem to remember that a/c use had the least effect of all on the MPG of a variety of differnt vehiclescompared to things like tire pressure, driving style, etc.

      I think technology has improved a lot since the 1960s, when an a/c compresser took up to 5 horsepower and really dragged on an engine.

      “Don’t use the air conditioner if you want to save fuel” kind of went out with window with “be sure to warm up the car in the driveway for several minutes before you drive anywhere.”

  • avatar

    People demand economy and will pay any price to get it!
    seriously, I think that people want performance, both with acceleration and fuel economy.Add handling too.
    I want good performance and a cupholder. I have neither (95 Infiniti G20). Still a great car tho.

  • avatar
    ixim

    People should be able to buy and drive whatever they want. Why do so many Accord/Camry buyers opt for the V6 when the I4 is perfectly adequate? Because they can, and a heavy right foot is often part of the deal.  Anyway, now,, the transition from greater efficiency = more power [more V6/V8\'s] to a little less power on a lot less gas [more turbocharged I4\'s] is well underway. I think that’s great.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Screw the cup holders. I want a car that is comfortable, fast, handles well and stops well. Fuel consumption is a consideration but not a major one. (The cars I want average at least in the mid 20s.) I’m not going to drive the automotive equivalent to a hair shirt just to save a few gallons. If gas gets too expensive for my budget, I will compensate by staying home more.

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    I believe in recycling, and that we are slowly worsening the environment – still, I love to redline the car out of lights and stops on the way to work in the morning – I smile the whole time I’m doing it and can’t believe the government won’t charge me more for the privilege. If the government were smart, they would incorporate environmental cleanup charges into the cost of the gas… but they don’t. If they’re serious about increased efficiency, tax like Europe, require higher octane, increase public transportation options, and quit it with this stupid CAFE and Ethanol stuff.

  • avatar
    skor

    People buy cars that are too big/powerful/wasteful because they they are fearful, cowardly, vain, hateful etc.  Rarely do they ever need a vehicle of the size, neither do they take advantage of the vehicle’s capabilities.
     
    Case in point:  Some years ago, I parked my Ford Probe in a parking space at work next to a Ford Excursion.  The owner of the Excursion was getting out just as I came in and remarked to me that my car would fit in the back of his truck.  I corrected him by pointing out that two cars of the type I was driving would fit in the back of his truck.  I then asked him why he “needed” to drive an Excursion.  After all, I’d never seen anyone else in this truck besides the owner.  I’d also never seen the owner haul anything heavier than his lunch, nor had I seen him tow anything with said truck.  The owner replied, “You know why?  Because if someone pulls out in front of me, they’re gonna die, not me.”
     
    There you have it, “I like big trucks because I can indulge my twisted little murder fantasies.”  This is the same type of tough guy that gets a hard-on by watching gun cam footage of jet jockeys blasting Pashtun wedding parties to bits, but will cry like a little girl if he ever actually receives a draft notice.
     
    $10/gal gas can’t get here soon enough.

    • 0 avatar
      west-coaster

      I once read a book about the SUV craze and its origins. One sociologist offered a theory about why they became so popular in the 1990s.

      He said that sales kind of took off after the Los Angeles riots of 1992. Frightened homemakers and cubicle dwellers suddently needed something that would “get them out of a jam” (in other words, mow down people in the inner city if they tried to pull them out of their cars like that poor guy in the dirt hauler who nearly lost his life).

      We seem to be a society of car buyers who like to over-equip themselves “just in case.”

      “I need four wheel drive JUST IN CASE I’M EVER STUCK.” (Never mind that they live in a gated community and commute to a high rise office building.)

      “I need four wheel drive JUST IN CASE I GO ON A SKI TRIP TO THE MOUNTAINS.” (Guy skies once or twice a year, and drives up to the resort on plowed roads.)

      “I need a huge cargo area JUST IN CASE I BUY A BIG PIECE OF FURNINTURE OR NEW FLAT SCREEN TV.” (You know, there is something called Enterprise Car Rental for just such an occasion. Heck, Home Depot even rents pickup trucks by the hour.)

      “I bought the Ford F-350 Crew Cab Diesel for its towing power, JUST IN CASE I HAVE TO TOW SOMETHING UP A STEEP GRADE LIKE IN THOSE COMMERCIALS.” (In reality, he paid like $8000 for the diesel option, and twice a year tows a pair of Jet Skis to a lake, a feat that a Honda Pilot could take care of without even breathing hard.)

      “I hear those new electric cars like the Nissan Leaf can only go 100 miles on a charge. No thanks, that won’t work, JUST IN CASE I WANT TO DRIVE TO LAS VEGAS OR THE SAN FRANCISCO.” (Again, Enterprise offers pretty good rates for those rare occasions, or Southwest Airlines can get you to both those places pretty cheaply if you book in advance.)


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