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