Read between the lines ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Read between the lines

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Read between the lines

After reading the following paragraph, I would think most people would be up in arms about US autos, and US automakers in general.

From: 40MPG.ORG - How Your Vehicle Stacks Up

In an update of its own December 2005 research, CSI/ found that the number of vehicles sold in the U.S. that achieve combined gas mileage of at least 40 miles per gallon (MPG) has dropped from five in 2005 to just two in 2007, while the ranks of such vehicles available overseas -- but not sold in the U.S. -- rose from 86 to 113 in the same time period. Adding insult to injury, nearly two thirds (74 or 65 percent) of the 113 highly fuel-efficient car models that are unavailable to American consumers are either made by U.S. auto manufacturers (e.g., Ford and GM) or foreign manufacturers with substantial U.S. sales operations (e.g., Volkswagen, Nissan and Toyota).

But, you need to read between the lines in a report like this. There are several questions a reader should ask themselves before storming Washington. The first two I thought of should get you through the rest.

First, the reader must realize that is not an unbiased observer. As such, you need to look for their motivation (higher fuel economy in the US) and then realize how they want you, the reader, to feel after reading anything they have to say.

Second, why wouldn't these automakers want to sell these cars. They sound amazing. In poll after poll most Americans say they want better fuel efficiency. Toyota has shown that cars like the Prius are capable of becoming mainstream. So why haven't these automakers tried to sell these cars here?

The answer is simple, really. Most of these high efficiency cars being sold outside the US are 1) small and 2) diesel. Diesel cars get higher fuel economy, there's no doubt. The problem in the US is their reputation and the strict federal guidelines. It's taken time, but automakers are finally getting to the point where they feel like they can produce diesel vehicles in the next couple of years that can pass these guidelines. The reputation may be repaired in time.

The other problem is size. US guidelines and consumers call for safety features you won't find elsewhere. But every safety system added onto the vehicle adds more weight to the car, which results in poorer fuel economy.

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Michael Karesh said...

I don't buy the diesel rep thing. It all comes down to cost and availability, of both the cars and the fuel.

I think I'll post to my own blog about this. Thanks for the inspiration.

Mike said...

That's what I like about hybrid cars. They're available now, they do make a difference, and I don't have to worry about where to find fuel.

You're welcome. That's what I'm here for. ;-)

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