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Blood for oil - Article from Netscape news

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by bajaviking, May 8, 2002.

  1. bajaviking

    bajaviking 1/2 ton status

    Apr 10, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Good article, especially the last part. I thought you guys might like it.

    "Good gas mileage" is of definite value--but is it the most
    valuable thing about a new car or truck? How about vehicle
    size? Or good performance? Or the ability to carry heavy
    loads? These are values, too. The question is: Should the
    consumer be the one who determines which values are most
    important, or should that be the job of politicians,
    government bureaucrats, and special-interest groups?

    Some believe the government should put fuel economy at
    the top of the list, and force the automakers to design and
    build their vehicles accordingly, even if that means size,
    performance, and capability must be sacrificed to meet the
    edict of good gas mileage over all else. For years, this has
    been done via federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy
    (CAFE) requirements. Under CAFE, each automaker's fleet of
    cars and trucks must meet a certain combined (and
    arbitrarily chosen) average fuel-economy figure; the CAFE
    requirement is now 27.5 miles per gallon for passenger cars,
    and 20.5 mpg for "light trucks," SUVs, and minivans. If the
    fleet average exceeds either figure, the automaker is
    punished with "gas-guzzler" penalties and taxes that drive
    up the cost of its vehicles.

    To satisfy the fuel-economy rules, the automakers have had
    to do several things that have distorted the marketplace for
    new cars and trucks, altering the way it would operate
    absent the artificial pressure exerted by CAFE. One such
    measure has been the "downsizing" of the average new
    car--which, on average, has lost about 1,000 pounds since
    the 1970s. The automakers have also had to build, and offer
    for sale, so-called "loss leader" subcompact models that are
    not especially profitable. Without CAFE, these loss leaders
    would either be discontinued entirely, or made larger, safer,
    and more attractive to consumers, even if it meant losing a
    few miles per gallon.
    Instead, each automaker builds and sells, each year--at
    either a loss or nominal profit--hundreds of thousands of
    these extremely small, not-especially-appealing vehicles,
    simply to even out the CAFE average. This enables them to
    sell the larger, safer, more powerful vehicles that people
    actually want to buy, without incurring the "gas-guzzler"

    Of course, the economic costs of the loss leaders are
    transferred (in the form of generally higher sticker prices) to
    buyers of the more popular models; the automakers, like
    any other business, must make a profit in order to stay in
    business. As always, such costs are not borne by "big
    business," but are simply passed on to consumers.

    And the public pays in other ways. The smaller, lighter
    vehicles we have today are also less safe than they would
    otherwise be, because mass and size provide an inherent
    safety cushion that no air bag or other safety add-on can
    compensate for. A big car is almost always more
    crashworthy than a small car.

    But the public, as a result of CAFE, has had to sacrifice
    safety on the altar of fuel efficiency--a curious twist on the
    "blood for oil" slogan. It has been estimated that several
    thousand motor-vehicle fatalities occur each year as a result
    of driving CAFE-downsized cars.
    And the technological improvements (such as fuel injection
    and overdrive transmissions) that the automakers have
    developed to increase the efficiency of their cars and trucks
    have simply encouraged people to drive more. The fact is,
    Americans drive more today than ever--and use more gas,
    too. U.S. dependence on foreign oil is at an all-time high.
    CAFE has had the opposite effect to that intended by those
    who conceived it.

    By every measure, federal fuel-economy requirements have
    been a massive policy failure, yet the government,
    tub-thumping politicos, and certain special-interest groups
    claiming to represent "the public" continue to insist upon
    raising CAFE requirements to as high as 40 mpg for
    passenger cars, and to perhaps 30 mpg for "light trucks,"
    SUVs, and minivans. But if 20-plus years of CAFE edicts have
    done nothing to decrease U.S. fuel consumption, what basis
    is there for believing that even higher CAFE requirements
    will do anything but continue to distort the new-car
    marketplace, decrease safety, increase costs, and limit
    consumer choice?

    Even more to the point: Why should a relative handful of
    people, ensconced in government and Washington's
    special-interests community, be empowered to force their
    values down the throats of everyone else? Subcompacts
    that get 40 mpg may indeed be great for singles and
    commuters, but families may need either a larger car or an
    SUV. Why should they be denied the right to choose the
    type of vehicle that meets their needs? And what gives the
    government and the special interests that sing the praises
    of "fuel economy uber alles" the moral right to put people at
    greater risk of injury or death in downsized cars and trucks?

    The government doesn't tell people where to live, or what
    kinds of homes they ought to live in. People choose what's
    right and best for them. That's how it ought to be with cars,
  2. BlazerGuy

    BlazerGuy 3/4 ton status

    Apr 20, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Good Article! I just had long a discussion with a friend who owns a H$%da civic about this.
  3. Danno

    Danno 1/2 ton status

    Aug 4, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Rockford, IL

    Do you still have the link to this story on Netscape News?
  4. bajaviking

    bajaviking 1/2 ton status

    Apr 10, 2002
    Likes Received:
  5. Z3PR

    Z3PR Banned

    Mar 30, 2002
    Likes Received:
    I fully agree, let those who buy, deside !!!!!

    AJMBLAZER Better to be lucky than good. Premium Member

    May 18, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Paducah, KY
    I'd rather buy a 4,000lb and up tank that gets less than 20mpg (much less usually/forums/images/icons/laugh.gif) and be safe than a 2000-3000lb hockey puck that gets 35mpg./forums/images/icons/frown.gif
  7. AGM73k5

    AGM73k5 1/2 ton status

    Feb 17, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Portland OREGON
    I thought the piece raised some good questions, although it had a few spots that didn't seem entirely accurate.

    <blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr>

    The government doesn't tell people where to live, or what
    kinds of homes they ought to live in. People choose what's
    right and best for them.


    I'm not sure how it is where others live but where I live the government does tell you where you may live and also what kind of home you may buy. They also specify what can go into the home you buy, what kind of plants you may have in your garden, what kind of medicine you can use etc.

    I do think people can choose what's right and best for them. However I don't think this only applies to vehicles. Also, I'd like to see the cost of gasoline reflect the actual cost and the US stop "defending it's interests" in oil rich countries. I'd rather pay more for gas than have the American military sent all over the globe.

    Thanks for sharing it /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

  8. Blazer_Boy

    Blazer_Boy 1/2 ton status

    Dec 16, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Sioux City, IA, USA
    Good, now we have someone to blame GMs upcomming displacement upon demand system. They want to run this engine management system they want to put in ALL of their light trucks and yuppie wagons, whoops, I mean SUVs. Its a throwback to the disastorous system that Cadillac had where the vehicle will "drop" cylinders when they are no longer need. So they vehicle decides when it wants to be a 4, 6, or 8 cylinder. If they are going to get all computer crazy, I'd work on valve soleniods. Theselittle units could control lift via a computer and have an infinite number of cam profiles.

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