ESPN (Yes, That ESPN): "There Will Be No Fundamental Change in Oil Import Levels Until Horsepower Numbers Change"

espn yes that espn there will be no fundamental change in oil import levels until

The oil economists and auto experts over at ESPN.com have decided to lay down the law about automobiles and ending the fuel import issues that plague the United States. In a post called “Hold Your Horsepower,” writer Gregg Easterbrook begins a multifaceted festival of wrong that continues for several excruciating paragraphs. His thesis: cars should have less horsepower; if they did, we’d use less gasoline. He goes on to, in a manner vaguely resembling accuracy, describe how today’s cars are “overpowered” by their comparison to vehicles from twenty and thirty years ago. While we’d all concur that a 268 horsepower Toyota Camry just sounds silly, Mr. Easterbrook’s “solution” is comparable to a 12 year-old mapping out a trip to Mars with a box of Crayolas. Just cutting horsepower isn’t the answer to anything. Cars had less power in the 1970s because of emissions laws and insurance. The went on to be functional with less horsepower because Federal safety requirements like airbags and side airbags and antilock brakes and electronic stability control and rigorous NHTSA and IIHS testing just weren’t part of the gameplan. At the heart of Easterbrook’s article there is undoubtedly a kernel of truth, which is that many American-market cars have far more horsepower than we need. But that’s a qualitative perspective, not quantitative. Look at the best selling cars in America in August: among the top ten, there were four trucks. The other six are cars, and their sales numbers are almost exclusively made up of four cylinder engines with less than 180 horespower. If you click over to the article, see how many statistical/data errors you can spot. Easterbrook should stick to sports. And I promise not to talk about the Maple Leafs; only cars.

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  • Seabrjim Seabrjim on Sep 11, 2008

    Maybe detroit thinks America has way too much useless sports coverage.

  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Sep 11, 2008

    He made plenty of errors in arriving at his conclusions, but he is correct in stating that the typical performance of many new cars is higher than many buyers need or want. In fact, many would prefer more mileage and less power. Which is where having several engine options comes in handy. But the real improvements in mileage and performance will come from getting rid of the unnecessary bloat that has afflicted most modern cars. Weight kills performance, fun, and efficiency all in one swoop. Just as obesity is killing America, it is pounding our national fuel consumption.

  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.
  • Mongo312 Had an 89SE, 92SE and an 03SE all with stick. The 03 took almost 3 months to find because there were so few produced with a manual transmission and dealers didn't want to give them up. Ended up buying one from a dealership in San Antonio and having it shipped here to St Louis.
  • Bullnuke About 15 years before the TR-8 my brother-in-law put a 301 Chevy small block in a TR-3A. Needed a U-joint in the steering to clear the headers, a modified '59 Pontiac radiator, and a drive shaft that was basically two U-joints end-to-end. It was a scream to drive, basically a small block Chevy with 3-deuces on wheels. 142mph in the quarter - we learned that the original wire wheels were a no-go on this thing at the drags...
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