By on October 18, 2017

Car in a Driveway, Image: Bigstock.com

Picture a suburban street in an average middle class neighborhood. In each driveway sits two vehicles, as tradition states no modern American suburban family can make do with just one. Think about those two vehicles for a minute now.

Are they evenly matched? In other words, are they the same size? Do they fulfill the same requirements laid out by a single segment? Doubtful, and your mind’s eye already made this clear. One’s a Safari or Caprice wagon, the other’s a Datsun 210. One’s a Corolla, the other, a Suburban. A Focus and an F-150, and so on.

Does owning an economy car compel new car buyers to splurge when new-car buying time rolls around? Logic, and now science, says yes.

The white paper, prepared by researchers at the University of California-Davis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University, is an involved one. Looking for equations? This crew’s framework has ’em in spades. Still, the results of the study’s social and economic model makes what we’ve known for decades clear: owning a smaller, fuel-efficient car is more likely to cause couples and families to go big with their next purchase.

Why did the researchers feel the need to prove the obvious? Well, that wasn’t the white paper’s sole intention. The researchers are more interested in the reduction of vehicle emissions, and argue that fuel economy standards might not be the best way to reduce overall emissions. That’s because ownership of a miserly fuel-sipper is more likely to lead to the ownership of a do-anything, go-anywhere utility vehicle, usually one with far less MPGs than its driveway mate.

Keep in mind that these findings aren’t the result of a survey or real-world experiment — we’re talking about estimates based on accepted scientific methodology. Reality might vary, especially in your own life. Based on an “attribute substitution” model that applies to other utility-related items, not just vehicles, the researchers estimate that for every 10-percent increase in fuel efficiency in a “kept” car (the one a couple or family already owns), the fuel efficiency of a newly purchased vehicle decreases by 4.8 percent — thus eroding the fuel savings of the older vehicle.

That’s not the only thing making that hypothetical driveway less green. Generally, miles travelled by members of a household increase following the purchase of a second vehicle. While some of the extra miles can be found on the kept car, the operation of both large and small vehicles shrinks the net fuel savings of the older economy model by over 60 percent, the researchers claim.

The findings work in both directions. The purchase of a larger second vehicle obviously translates into more fuel burned, but the purchase of an economy car as a second vehicle (if the first is a guzzler) means less fuel saved than the buyer might think. As such, the authors of the white paper feel that, in the interests of greenhouse gas reduction, efforts to change consumer behavior should focus not just on the car, but on the fuel as well.

And you all know what that means: a carbon tax at the pumps.

[Source: Wards Auto] [Image: Willard Losinger/Bigstock]

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62 Comments on “Scientists Reveal What We Already Knew: Economy Cars and Gas Guzzlers Love Each Other...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    “argue that fuel economy standards might not be the best way to reduce overall emissions.”

    POST THIS STUDY EVERYWHERE!

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Sounds like moral licensing, but the paper doesn’t use the term. Basically the theory is that if someone does a good deed that requires sacrifice or pain (like living with an uncomfortable fuel efficient car), then people tend to feel they have a moral license to do something “bad” as a reward (such as buy a comfortable gas guzzler or take an extra jet propelled holiday). It also works in reverse where doing something bad creates guilt that is mollified by doing a painful good deed. It explains a lot of things such as why Al Gore who makes painful sacrifices flying around the world to tell us to cut back on our greenhouse gas emissions feels entitled to own several very large mansions that emit more greenhouse gases than several dozen average American homes.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Then you agree that in evaluating the carbon impact of people such as Gore we have to weigh the gains from their message against their personal impact. Good. Now we’re getting somewhere.

      I guess you would also agree we can’t expect Gore to get his message out by sitting in a cave and lecturing the walls.

      We can also agree that you’ve made no attempt to determine what Gore does more directly to mitigate his impact.

      And we can also agree that if Gore was poor you’d dismiss his message on that basis. Jobless bum and all that.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Ever heard of Skype? Gore’s boring and inaccurate Powerpoint presentations would be much more environmental if given online, but certainly not as profitable for Big CO2 footprint Al. If Gore, Leonardo, Harrison and all the other celebrity “eco-warriors” can’t walk the (small footprint) walk, don’t expect anyone to listen to them talk the talk. No surprise the sequel to an Inconvenient Truth bombed.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        “Then you agree that in evaluating the carbon impact of people such as Gore we have to weigh the gains from their message against their personal impact.”

        Their personal impact is the message.

        Almost everyone who professes concern over the impact of the continued emission of anthropogenic CO2 on the climate is unwilling to sacrifice their comfortable lifestyle in order to make any significant difference. It is only important to people like you that one uses words that display that they are concerned about it, righteous in the knowledge that they would be willing to adopt new environmentally-friendly technology as soon as somebody bothers to invent it; provided it doesn’t inconvenience them.

        Most observers can see right through that sort of virtue signalling.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Moral licensing” or just plain practicality?

      Could be a bit of both. If you own a gas guzzler, it just makes good sense to own something else that’s more efficient. I know plenty of folks who do this just to save a few bucks. I also know people who commute with smaller cars because they work downtown, and the smaller car makes parking easier.

      Hopefully those examples signal the right virtues to you.

      …and as far as “Gore is a hypocrite because he travels on a private jet” garbage is concerned…blah, blah, blah. It’s like accusing Trump of being a hypocrite on health care because he has never had to worry about paying for it. Hint: don’t hold your breath waiting for his supporters to go there.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I would say practicality.

        I drive a 20 ft long crew cab pickup and the now “ex” drove the minivan. Both were purchased based upon end use. The minivan can’t carry a week’s worth of gear and boat to a remote fishing hole or do dirty chores. The truck is much more stable and can get through worse conditions than the van.
        Most people I know own a truck and mid to small sized SUV/CUV or car or they own two SUV/CUV’s of which is bigger.

        I don’t know a single buyer that rates MPG or carbon footprint as a primary purchase metric or use those parameters to justify owning a larger vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff Weimer

          I used MPG as a primary criteria when buying my current car (Cruze Eco) because I drove 650 miles per week and it was 2011. I would not pick the same car now for commuting duties as I don’t drive nearly as much any more.

        • 0 avatar
          Reino

          This probably applies to 90% of suburbia. Mom drives the Suburban full of kids to school and soccer practice. Dad is stuck with the Civic because it’s just him on a 50 mile commute every day. (And he’s counting the days until all the kids are grown and he can buy a Corvette.)

          • 0 avatar
            cognoscenti

            He needs to stop waiting to enjoy life, lest he end up too old and rickety to get in and out of said Corvette. I bought an M3 sedan for this exact reason. My kids ride in the back and I still get the fun car now while I have spring left in my step!

        • 0 avatar
          Reino

          I have neighbors with the same color Subaru Outback–slightly different generations (can you discern Outback generations?). It confuses me every time I see them.

        • 0 avatar
          Rasputin

          I agree with practicality.
          Back in the early 70’s, when gas was 50-cents and we were just starting to think about auto-made smog, I had a 124 Spyder and a Chevy 1-ton passenger van.
          I had 124 because I was a single mid-20’s stud who loved to drive the twisty roads in upstate NY & Vermont – especially with a young lady who had never ridden in anything other than Daddy’s Biscayne. I had the van because I was captain of a rugby club and on off-season weekends I usually had a few friends, a keg, & a bushel of clams heading off to the slopes or the beach.
          Ah, the joys of callow youth.

          Sadly, I am no longer single, mid-20’s, a stud, or play rugby – but I still love driving a small MT roadster through the back country.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        Another vote for practicality. If you have 2 cars, you want them capable of different things: one small vehicle for daily commuting, the second larger one for airport duty and road trips. Unlike economy cars of the 70s, modern fuel-efficient ones are comfortable and well equipped, so there’s really no sacrifice involved.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      “that requires sacrifice or pain (like living with an uncomfortable fuel efficient car)”

      YMMV. While I don’t deny that there are uncomfortable fuel efficient cars out there, not all fuel efficient cars are uncomfortable. My family is quite pleased with my wife’s Fit on that account.

      Correspondingly, not all gas guzzlers are comfortable. Like that Ford F-150 that we rented in California last spring.

  • avatar
    operagost

    I have a small car and a pickup because I can’t fit lumber in the car.

    To assume that everyone who has a large vehicle is doing it for the lulz is high douchebaggery.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Yup. In my family we have a family car, and we have an “other car” (and a sports car but that’s unrelated). The family car, an SUV, is the one we almost always drive in when we go somewhere as a family. The “other car” merely has to be “adequate” at carrying the kids, because it rarely does it or it does it for very short distances.

      Almost every family I know does the same; usually mom drives a large-ish SUV or minivan, and dad has a sedan because dad mostly commutes alone, maybe picks up or drops off the kids at school occasionally, but as long as Junior fits in the back seat for the 10 minute ride home you’re golden.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        We have a small and large vehicle in our family as well. One for hauling the family and general stuff, the other is for taking me 40 miles each way to work. So yeah, I resemble this remark.

        I’ll probably be replacing my Mazda 3 with a Jetta sometime in the near future too, but that’s mostly because the 3 fails at the being ‘adequate’ at haling kids part. You can’t put a rear-facing seat in without having the front passenger eat dashboard, where the Jetta has miles of room comparatively.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      “To assume that everyone who has a large vehicle is doing it for the lulz is high douchebaggery.”

      No one said that. It’s just that according to this study, having a smaller car often makes you feel more compelled to also own a larger, less-efficient one. The small car insulates you from gas spikes or potential income issues. And, quite frankly, someone in your positing might decide that you could rent or borrow something for lumber, and do without the truck. Or maybe you would have purchased it anyway.

      But this is correlation, not causation.

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        “And, quite frankly, someone in your positing might decide that you could rent or borrow something for lumber, and do without the truck.”

        That’s my family. We are the rare Truckless family in Texas. I absolutely can’t stand driving the things*; I think they are just miserable to drive. So why own a truck that I would hate to drive everyday when I can just rent one? It does demand a certain amount of planning, and I have screwed that up before.

        *One caveat here though, I have discovered that I really don’t mind driving Ford Transits. I wouldn’t say that I like them, but it’s probably the only truck that I don’t dislike. Whenever I rent from UHaul I always request a Transit.

        • 0 avatar
          Felix Hoenikker

          Me too. I’ve also rediscovered that there are stores out there that will deliver lumber for free if you buy a certain amount. Obviously, not the big box stores. When I was finishing half of my basement two years ago, I ended up paying less and getting free delivery from an old line lumber company than either 84 Lumber who charged for delivery or the big box stores that require you to carry your own or rent their trucks.
          I have no intention in owning a pickup to do what I can get for free and no labor with a little shopping.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “having a smaller car often makes you feel more compelled to also own a larger, less-efficient one”

        One could argue that having a larger, less fuel efficient one often makes you feel more compelled to also own a smaller, more fuel efficient one.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Agreed. Wife has a Subbie Forester and I have an Avalanche. We got the truck because she has a massive garden, and I can’t haul manure, dirt, wood chips, truck loads of plants, etc. in the back of a sports sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Cupples

        We don’t have a truck. You don’t need a truck to haul lumber, plants, or dirt. Local businesses that sell that stuff can deliver for a nominal fee that beats the extra expense of owning a truck.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “for a nominal fee”

          Not so nominal, not around here anyways. Enough to justify the expense of a truck? Perhaps not. But I will say owning a truck this past year was absolutely invaluable to efficiently completing a number of projects (raised bed garden, paver patio, pergola/fence). I’m truck-less now, but can definitely see myself getting a newer half-ton crew cab once I finally am ready to spend some real money on a new-ish vehicle. A trailer would make a lot of sense as well, but I have nowhere to store one at our current house.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Rob Cupples – trucks are a big advantage for hauling any cargo that would otherwise contaminate the passenger compartment. I had a Safari van instead of a truck for a few years. No fun after carrying garbage, dirt bikes, or 2 Labrador retrievers that just spent 30 minutes in a swamp.
          It also depends where you live and what you do. I live in a region dependent upon heavy industry. Rental pickups are usually in high demand.
          Does it make sense to pay a delivery fee on a dozen 2×4’s? If you are hauling dirt, it must not be a large volume or it is a large enough volume to hire a dump truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      I was stacking lumber on top of my TSX wagon and some kid came by and commented on how I should get a truck instead. I smiled and said sure, then he saw my Texas plates (I’m now in California) and he went off on Texas. Aparently he is oblivious that Texas is the home pickup trucks.

      ps I left my truck in Texas, and I only would of used it once to haul firewood. Instead I paid a guy a $50 to haul it to my house and he did the unloading. My back thinks it was a bargain.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      And how often do you haul lumber in your truck? If you’re like the average person, maybe once a year. Hardly worth buying/owning a truck for that reason when you can rent a truck from Home Depot for $25 and haul whatever you want. 99% of full-size truck owners seem to haul around a bed full of air 9% of the time.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    That second point is one I’ve noticed, too. If fuel is cheap / you own a fuel-efficient vehicle, you drive more. Suddenly, that trip across town for the really good Korean barbecue doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. So while you get more fun per dollar, because you are able to enjoy more experiences in your smaller fuel-sipping car, your emissions footprint isn’t exactly offset.

    For me, my round trip commute is about 65 miles. It wouldn’t be if gas were $5 a gallon…not that I couldn’t afford it; I just wouldn’t want to.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      Kyree – what you describe is call rebound effect. Because driving is so cheap when you own a fuel efficient car, people tend to drive more. Some studies have found that Prius owners drive 20% more than they did before they owned the car. Rebound effects are one reason that despite huge improvements in fuel efficiency of cars, appliances, etc. over the past few decades, per capita energy consumption has not declined substantially – people are consuming the energy saved by greater consumption.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        stingray65: “Some studies have found that Prius owners drive 20% more than they did before they owned the car.”

        Can you provide links for these studies?

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox

  • avatar
    kwong

    I’ve got the most fuel efficient variants in my garage:
    06 GM 2500HD Silverado Duramax ~15mpg
    01 VW Golf TDI ~44mpg
    07 Lexus Rx400h ~27mpg
    13 Fiat 500e ~$.015/mile

    Clearly a 6.6L V8 turbodiesel is on one extreme, while the Fiat 500e is on the other. The Duramax gets driven about 4K miles per year, while the Fiat goes 28K per year.

  • avatar
    SD 328I

    My garage has a Silver 99′ E46 BMW Sedan with a manual and a Silver 15′ F150 Supercab.

    However my mpg is the opposite, my small sedan gets 21 mpg, my big truck gets me 24 mpg.

    Reason is my E46 is my weekend fun car, usually not driven too lightly, while my F150 is a Ecoboost that gets a lot of highway cruising.

    What’s interesting is that 0-60, my F150 will smoke my BMW, 5.8 sec vs 6.4 sec. Interesting days in the car world right!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I typically buy cars as I need them, but the “moral licensing” theory put forth by stingray65 makes sense, too.

    In our household with a Sedona minivan and an Optima Hybrid, the hybrid gets the long-distance duty while the van gets the hauling duty. My recent job change meant I switched to the hybrid as my daily driver. When I had the Leaf, the minivan was parked for weeks at a time.

    So for us, our fleet is designed to meet a spectrum of needs, rather than justifying a purchase based upon fuel economy.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    No surprise that as we become wealthy enough to own more than one car those cars reflect specialization, and having a vehicle more suitable and available for any given purpose leads to more driving.

    I do know people who bought a Suzuki Grand Vitara instead of an Escape Hybrid, rationalizing the higher fuel consumption because they had just installed a high efficiency home furnace. But they walk, cycle and take transit most of the time and the Vitara is still small as suv’s go.

  • avatar
    JMII

    My brother’s weekend / track car is a modified Golf R, his daily driver is an Accord Hybrid so he alone fits this profile. He has a long commute and the Golf R was sucking down fuel at unreasonable levels. Plus crawling along in traffic is no fun so logical said why not just get a fuel sipper for those duties. The money saved during the week is put into 1.5 tanks fulls of 100 octane on monthly race weekends. So in the end it evens out nicely.

    In my garage we have two V6s and one V8. We previously had a boosted inline 5 but the new V6 matches or slightly exceeds its mileage. My wife would love to drive a hybrid but also wanted a 2 door coupe – and that combination isn’t really available.

  • avatar
    The Comedian

    Previous vehicle – i3
    Current vehicle – Tahoe

  • avatar
    danio3834

    To hell with this. Every vehicle I currently own (4) has a V8.

  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    My family follows this too, but a little different. It’s not about “moral licensing” as stringray65 put it, or having a large utility vehicle like a truck that’s balanced out by an efficient vehicle like operaghost and a few others have said.

    Instead, my wife and I have our own well defined tastes in vehicles and we afforded each other the license to get what we wanted. I like a low slung sporty 2 door car, preferably with rear wheel drive when possible. So I drive a Mustang. My wife is far more practical and strongly prefers a small and efficient subcompact hatchback. In her case she drives a Honda Fit.

    Overall, it works well for us.

    • 0 avatar
      Reino

      My wife and I are very similar. We don’t have much say in what the other drives. I have a 5-series and she has a 4Runner. Funny thing is: for our next cars she wants to go bigger (Sequoia), and I want to go smaller (911). So I guess that’s our way of balancing out!

  • avatar
    deanst

    This is the study I referenced a week or so ago when the topic was the uselessness of CAFE standards. And the conclusion is still the same – tax the d*mn gas if you want people to use less of it.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      You are absolutely correct – the only way to decrease energy consumption is to make people poorer, so a brutally high energy tax would do the trick. Unfortunately, policies that make people poorer usually result in a change in political party in power at the next election, which is why politicians tend to prefer ineffective things like CAFE. Remember, the most important task for almost any politician is to get re-elected.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        What a bunch of crap. Where do you think additional taxes would go? Cease to exist?

        Have you ever heard of revenue-neutral carbon taxes? If so, do you understand how they work? Do you know of any places with them? Do you know how the emissions and economies have done in places with them?

        How much Koch/coal money finds its way into your pockets?

        • 0 avatar
          2manycars

          You’re the one spewing crap. Quite the useful idiot for the elites, control freaks, and power mongers purveying the climate scam. CO2 is not a pollutant. In your feckless duckspeak though you have arrived at the kernel of truth – it’s not about controlling “pollution” it’s about controlling people – as you say “behavior has been changed.” Screw that.

          It has been said that whenever government is rabidly enthusiastic about something you can be reasonably sure you shouldn’t be. I will not permit myself to be “nudged” by the thieving, violent psychopaths of the State to modify my choices. If they wind up imposing illicit carbon taxes I will not change my behavior other than to INCREASE my CO2 output and find ways reduce the amount they steal in other ways to make up for it.

          All of you nutters pushing the agenda that human-emitted CO2 is “destroying the planet” and/or causing “climate change” are cordially invited to off yourselves in order to save Mother Earth.

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            2manycars, If you believe what you say you are a hypocrite for not wasting as much fossil fuel as you can right now. Why do you need government regulations to spur you to do greater good?

          • 0 avatar
            MoparRocker74

            2many, you NAILED it. This was only EVER about control over peoples lives, nothing more nothing less. The climate most certainly IS changing, as it was doing before we were here with our evil cars and trucks and it will continue to do so. Attributing it to human activity is just some lame ass excuse to tax the living shit out of us and get us to let the nannies run our lives…and people are so ignorant, they’re falling all over themselves to help the elites screw all of us over.

            Theres no good reason to control what people use. PERIOD. The market is self regulating and people will (as they well should) buy, own and operate what they can afford to. The only way ugly, miserable econoboxes sell is when economics force people into them. When things improve, that crap is hucked off ASAP or just run into the ground and we treat ourselves with what we really want to drive, within our budgets. For those who love heavy handed socialist regimes dictating $10/gallon gas and crap can cars that look like a soda machine on a roller skate…move to Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      History shows that in the US, consumption of gasoline is fairly price-inelastic.

      The price of gasoline doubled between 2002 and 2012, while consumption went down about 2%. Americans just don’t care, except when the price spikes.

      Just how much tax would you add to meaningfully reduce fuel consumption?

      http://www.randomuseless.info/gasprice/gasprice.html
      https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MGFUPUS1&f=A

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @SCE to AUX – one can argue that in the USA and Canada, we have not hit a fuel price threshold that would modify behavior. Taxes in Europe favour smaller engines and diesels which is what we see there.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          BC has had a revenue-neutral carbon tax over two progressive and one conservative provincial governments. Over that time the economy has been among the best in Canada, while emissions have not followed the trend in the rest of the country, and fallen.

          Behavior has been changed. No one has been made poor. There is no need to hit some sort of price threshold. There is no need to scare the children with scary stories about big bad nasty gas prices.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “tax the d*mn gas”

      I agree 100% but it would be political suicide so politicians rather waste billions on alternative methods of behavior modification.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        It’s also bad policy that places a huge regressive tax on the poor and fixed income elderly. High federal tax will also crowd out state revenue and lead to short-funding in the states.

      • 0 avatar
        Reino

        I think if we just ‘pegged’ gas at $4.00/gal, then the fraction the govt takes depends on the price of oil. When the price of oil goes up, the govt collects less tax. When oil goes down, govt gets to collect more tax. It would also ensure the govt takes measures to keep oil prices down.

  • avatar

    So, it took a rocket surgeon to figure out that a family might have a Tahoe for the wife to lug kids around to school, shop, and take weekend outings with and a a Jetta TDI to commute back and forth to work?

  • avatar
    mjg82

    That was my intention, in reverse. I had an ’05 Buick Allure that I didn’t enjoy enough to ignore it’s thirst. I then picked up a ’95 Roadmaster Wagon as a 2nd car. I didn’t care about fuel economy, it was just the car I wanted and was willing to pay the bill for. When I grew tired of the Allure my intention was to get something fuel efficient to balance out the wagon’s gas bill (which isn’t that bad, to be fair).

    I always had intention to pick up a TDI Golf Wagon to sit beside the RMW, but by the time I was car shopping it was late ’15 and that plan obviously wasn’t feasible by then. Anywho, my economy car search didn’t last long. I didn’t want just a slow poke, and I had a list of comfort features I didn’t want to compromise on, so stepping up to midsize seemed like the thing to do. A few days in a rental Focus reminded me of the sad days of leasing a Caliber, a car that was my first NEW car, and one I regretted by the 3rd payment. It was fully loaded but it was still a penalty box with its garbage ride and tragic interior.

    Long story short I ended up scoring a great deal on a ’15 Optima Turbo at that point the ’16 redesign was already on the lot, and it’s been a near perfect car. Two years later I couldn’t be happier with the RMW/Optima combo.

    I left fuel economy out of the equation in the end, but I get better real world mileage out of the Optima than I ever got from the Caliber. I push an underpowered car too hard to get what I want out of it, but drive both the Optima and RMW much gentler.

    My partner has a ’13 Rio hatch. It’s not horrible to drive, he likes it well enough, but he doesn’t drive my cars. Still, all signs point to me avoiding the whole guzzler/economy combo unless gas prices jump considerably.

  • avatar
    MudFlap

    I have an avalanche, and the car we chose for my wife(odyssey) has nothing to do with fuel economy, each vehicle has its own purpose and fufils it. The truck’s fuel penalty is just part of ownership cost. I had a commuter car at one point and the cost of keeping, fueling, servicing, and insuring the additional vehicle is more expensive than just sucking it up and commuting at 14-15mpg.

  • avatar
    eyeofthetiger

    My little car gets 38 MPG, is comfortable, and fun to drive. My old truck gets 11 MPG and is esentially a stinky, rolling heap of scrap metal. I consider both vehicles essential.

  • avatar
    TW5

    While I appreciate the science/economics community rebutting DC’s nonsensical policy-making, it also seems the academic community can find no better use for its unique skill set than recommending ways to tax the working class, and create a rift in the federalist system.

    Fuel taxes are regressive as a percentage of income, and sharply raising federal tax will crowd out state revenue, leading to funding problems in the states. Raising federal excise taxes will also interfere with the standard mileage deduction, and it will lead to cost-push inflation for consumer goods, particularly foodstuffs.

    Raising taxes on gasoline will also increase the cost of commuting, which merely puts more economic obstacles in the path of working class laborers who often use the exurbs to escape high real estate prices in the city centers.

    Furthermore, the NHTSA will never relinquish the power to control footprints because they can make threats that people will die, and the EPA is addicted to controlling air-quality via CAFE regulations. We will end up with CAFE 2025 and higher fuel taxes, and a bunch of smug morons at MIT telling us that high taxes and high regulatory costs are for our own good.

    Either pay people to meet an objective that creates positive externalities, or get lost. I’m running out of patience for academia and politicos.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I look forward to the day when we’re down to 2 cars…we have 4 at the moment, thanks to having 2 kids in college. One of the kids doesn’t have a car on campus this year so the ’06 Kia Sportage beater with 165xxx miles is at home. I find myself using that as the dog-hauling vehicle when they go to Puppy Camp so I don’t tear up the newer cars. I do enjoy having at least one older car that is cosmetically-challenged for Lowe’s runs and dogs. The other kiddo drives a ’14 Accord that was a hand-me-down from me, my bride chose a ’16 CR-V that she detests, and I have a ’17 Jetta SE 1.4t that I really like. No enormous tanks or super-small tin cans in our mini-fleet.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    I own a F150 and a Taurus. The F150 is to tow our 3 trailers, haul ATVs, camping supplies, and various larger things. It’s also pretty good in the heavy snow that we get around here in the winter. The Taurus is my daily.

    I’ve had a string of fuel-efficient cars paired with minivans and trucks, just like the research shows.

    As for why I have a Taurus now instead of the compact car that it replaced, I just got tired of the road noise and general discomfort of the small cars I owned. now I float to work in relative silence. It’s worth the 8 mpg or so difference to me.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    We have one vehicle that can do it all, that is carry people and stuff and the second vehicle, while not an economy car, the only real requirement it has is transporting typically one person from point A to point B and could transport my entire family of 5 in a pinch (it just so happens to also have 300hp). So the gas guzzler and economy car doesn’t quite fit with me but the second, smaller vehicle, is more fuel efficient by a decent margin.

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  • Matt Posky: Fair enough.
  • Matt Posky: Yep. To clarify, as an American I 100% support everyone having the ability to be armed in NYC or anywhere...
  • akear: Why doesn’t GM concentrate on its lousy market share. It is second to Toyota in the States and 6th place...
  • Inside Looking Out: I think F35 uses system like that to predict failures and order spare parts before the failure...
  • Lou_BC: “Yes because people like you defunded them…” Ah yes, the “defund” argument. The same...

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