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February 15, 2007



Well, if they want fuel-efficient cars, why does the parking lot at the local Safeway look like a monster truck rally? Actions speak louder than words. Sure they want 40mpg - but they want it out of a 5000-pound, 7-passenger vehicle with 4WD they don't need and an engine that can tow a boat they don't have. I'd like a free lunch and world peace, too. I wonder what the survey results would be if they asked people whether they'd be willing to drive a smaller vehicle to get higher mileage? Maybe they just want everyone else to do so.


All we'd need to do is say that a car which is street legal in Germany is also street legal in the US. Done deal, some high number of models immediately available.

If we want to make this for efficiency only (and not allow in more sports cars) we could limit the rule to high efficiency or low displacement engines.

I'm afraid the surveys above reinforce a very different idea though, not that we should get those small cars, but that congress should somehow legislate a Tahoe up to 40 mpg. The physics of the problem make that difficult.

Anyway, I predict that when we in North America get serious, we'll let those cars in, we won't get there by mandating improvements to "our" fleet.



There are three answers to your question:

1. The parking lot of the safeway probably contains several smaller and mid-size cars, or small crossover SUVs, but you don't notice them. I've noticed lots of folks obsess over the one HUMMER they see a week, and not the hundreds of Civics, Accords, and Corollas.

2. The overwhelming majority of the SUVs you do see were bought when gas was under $2 a gallon (remember when people were complaining that $2 a gallon was TOO HIGH). Even over the last two years when prices have really gone up, lots of folks have looked at it as a temporary phenomenon. But now that more folks are recognizing that higher prices are here to stay, there are getting behind the idea of better mileage. That doesn't mean they're going to run out and replace a 4-year old car. That would be both environmentally and economically foolish. It takes 15-20 years to turn over the vehicle stock in the US (and as cars last longer than they used to, that number may be growing). I have a 2001 Accord that gets around 29mpg. Sure, I'd love to get a 51mpg Prius, but the fact is I can't afford it and I'm not getting rid of a car that works perfectly. Maybe if Chevy actually comes out with the Volt or if the rumored 90mpg+ plug-in Prius materializes I might, but otherwise I'm keeping my Accord until it dies, and then replacing it with the most fuel-efficient car I can afford.

3. No one wants to penalize themselves for "the greater good" if its not going to have an effect because they're the only ones doing it (well, aside from a few sanctimonious jerks who like to hold up their own asceticism as an excuse to look down on everyone else). That's why it makes more sense to have regulations that make everyone play by the same rules than to just hope the market will sort everything out magically.

John D.


It is unfortunate that you chose to lump all Americans together with your comments. Many of us are buying hybrids and other fuel-efficient cars. Some of us Americans care, I know I do. I also work with renewable energy in my home, including solar panels and a bio-fueled stove. I encourage others to do similar things via my blog:


Take a look at this, and other projects around the nation. At least you could acknowledge that some of us are trying.



The reason the number of models available actually dropped is that VW did not offer its diesel Jettas, Beatles and Golfs in the '07 model year. They pulled those from the market for that model year in North America as they switched over to the new diesel setups that will meet the latest emissions standards. VW imported large numbers of '06s to meet the demand. The '08 models will be in the showrooms this summer.


106,000 dollar tax deduction for gas guzzlers. It's still built into the tax code.

What is the tax credit for plugin hybrids? Where ARE the plugin hybrids?

Toyota will void your Prius waranty if you convert it to plugin.

Someone is seriously skewing the so-called free market. And destroying the human friendly climate of planet earth in the process. I wonder who could be doing that?

Used Cars

I agree with this article whole heartedly. We have very few choices here in America, yet we are mostly doing the damage.


My hypothesis is that the Congress (definitely Republican, maybe bipartisan) is skewing the tax and other incentives to keep us on gasoline.  Why else would we have first-year expensing of huge trucks (regardless of business purpose) but multi-year depreciation of hybrids?

Jake Black

I disagree with the article. I think America has come a long way -- and will continue to do so. Look at our selection of articles on the energy subject and you will see just how much we have changed.



You know, karl, if you're going to post incredibly long off-topic screeds, get your own blog.


You know, karl, if you're going to post incredibly long off-topic screeds, get your own blog.

an electrical engineer told us they would slow down the hertz during the day and speed it up at night to keep the analog clocks synced.
And any electrical engineer who's taken even the intro power engineering course knows that this is an essential feature of the physics of the AC grid.  Even after deregulation, US grid frequency variations are in the millihertz range.  A 7.6 mHz variation amounts to about 3.6 seconds over an 8-hour day.  76 mHz would produce an error of a bit over half a minute.  Of course, people's watches and most computer networks are independent of the grid frequency and unaffected.

Now, if you can't keep a response concise and on-topic, you might as well admit that you're trolling.


Well, there are a few choices for you. You could be thinking that a very small conventional car is more fuel-efficient than a hybrid car. You could be thinking that an electric car is better than a hybrid car.


if 70 was 100 we'ed thick it was fast! boil away. my old stoves.

CGS intake

I would suggest having to modify your cars air intake system or exhaust system to improve the fuel efficiency of your car. With that on hand, your car would have better performance and promises even greater driving quality.

cgs performance air intakes

Law implementation should be done immediately to address the problem. Fuel efficient gas for me would benefit us especially nowadays that the price is getting higher.

Los Angeles SEO

Times have changed and as the demand grows so do our choices in both electric and hybrid cars.

CGS exhaust

Fuel efficient cars is really important especially nowadays. It can lessen the expense for fuel and for the carbon it emits.

NRG Steering Wheels

Electric cars have several potential benefits as compared to conventional internal combustion automobiles that include a significant reduction of urban air pollution. This is really a good idea. and hope that other would be aware about this. It is an environment friendly technology.

NRG Hubs

It is nice that U.S. are implementing this kind of quality for cars. Hope other countries should be aware of our environment because the more countries would join to this idea, the more people will benefit.

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