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Thread: The Trouble With..

  1. #1
    In the wake of a massive but failed campaign by the auto industry and an army of highly paid lobbyists, California governor Gray Davis recently signed a bill into law which would limit carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles sold in America's most populous state. Proponents and foes agree that the legislation amounted to a clever back-door attempt to impost stricter fuel economy standards for cars, a move which was defeated in the US Congress (sole regulator of fuel economy) only months earlier, following another cash-insentive - and equally dishonest - lobbying effort by the industry.

    Testifying before Congress, industry spokesmen had sworn under oath that even a 1mpg increase in their coroprate average fuel economy could not be achieved, even over 10 years, without jeopardising citizens' safety. The position was patently absurd, as Honda alone among car makers pointed out.

    Undaunted, the lobbyists and congressmen loyal to them (the best elected representatives money can buy, we like to say) charged that if the enviros had their way, Americans would be pried from their SUVs and forced to drive golf carts. One Washington DC area ad paid for by the industry's primary lobbying entity, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, went so far as to assert that tighter fuel economy regulations would spell the death of our beloved pick-up trucks. 'Farming is tough enough with healthy-size pick-ups', a fellow who looks like a farmer is pictured saying. 'Imagine hauling feed barrels in a subcompact.'

    The hysteria, the hyperbole, the utter bullsh*t. It all sounded painfully familiar, reminding us why the industry is so often its own worst enemy. By lying in Washington, it bought itself California. Once again.

    To be a young car enthusiast in the 1970s was to spend most of your time deeply depressed. If you believed what you read, it was hard to escape a hideous conclusion: that federal emissions and safety regulations, passed in the wake of similar Californian initiatives, were there to forever sap our cars of their zest for living. Performance was dead, officially so, and in its place a new generation of overweight bumper cars was on its way - clown machines with airbags and strangulated powerplants fit only for the old, the infirm and the tragically dim. And that was if we were lucky.

    In 1966, Henry Ford II, speaking out against federal safety standards for cars, warned, 'If we can't meet them when they are published, we'll have to close down.' In 1972, a General Motors executive, testifying against proposed emissions controls, said, 'It is conceivable that complete stoppage of the entire production could occur, with the obvious tremendous loss to company shareholders, employees, suppliers and communities.'

    True, the Clean Air Act extension of 1970 caught many car makers on their uppers. The bill authorised the newly reformed Environmental Protection Agency (one of Richard Nixon's less frequently credited legacies) to promulgate air pollution standards. Performance suffered briefly, if not - as Honda showed with its brilliant CVCC engine of 1973 - necessarily.

    But a funny thing happened on the way to the future. The dire prophesies failed to materialise. Automobiles got safer. They got cleaner. And they got faster. Faster than the good old days of the muscle car '60s, when cars were cars and men were men, and you could smell them both coming. Faster, in fact, than they've ever been. Quite the opposite of what the industry warned us against. Which is why it is so hard to believe it now as it gears up to fight the new California law in court.

    Today, thanks to the power of the microchip, sophisticated fuel injection and emissions systems enable new cars to pollute less but go faster. Indeed, the EPA says the average car's horsepower rating has risen 79 percent since 1981, while performance is up 26 percent. Would that any of us could say the same about our own performance during that period.

    The trend to accelerating-enhancing horsepower has shown no signs of deceleration, either - hardly a surprise given the depressing news that the average weight of cars has escalated steadily, too, up 21 percent since 1981, the average car in America gets worse mileage than it did 20 years ago. If the gains from technological advances had been targeted towards fuel economy instead of performance and weight, the EPA says today's vehicles would be about 25 percent more fuel efficient than their 1981 counterparts.

    So here's a radical proposition. Is it possible that, say, those three-tonne Cadillac Escalades could make do with just a few less of their standard compliment of 345bhp? Wouldn't that elusive 1mpg increase in fuel economy (and a concomitant reduction in CO2 emissions) suddenly be, gasp, attainable?
    Or would that force the auto industry to shut down instead? We ought to be told.

    -Jamie Kitman, CAR

    discuss

    <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>BLAH</span>

    <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Wayne Rooney - A thug and a thief</span>

  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    It should come as no surprise that the automakers are resisting legislation.

    Through a massive and concerted advertising campaign they have managed to convince Americans that bigger is better, everyone needs four wheel drive, and, most astounding of all, that pickup trucks are actually practical urban vehicles.
    They would prefer not to mention that these vehicles are their biggest profit makers.

    Last March Denver got blasted with one of the "storms of the century". Massive snowdrifts closed the city ( and my neighborhood) down. Nothing was moving-not HumVees, not Navigators, not Explorers. Three days later, after the city snowplows had come by, the first car to leave the area was mine..a thirty year old Japanese sportscar.

    Of course my neighbors are all still firmly convinced that they need their monster SUVs.
    The best evidence yet that Americans really are stupid.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    Originally posted by clocker@22 September 2003 - 00:37
    Of course my neighbors are all still firmly convinced that they need their monster SUVs.
    The best evidence yet that Americans really are stupid.
    couldn&#39;t agree more

    i&#39;m firmly against SUVs for the damage they cause in accidents aswell...

    p.s. great story about your city...
    <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>BLAH</span>

    <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Wayne Rooney - A thug and a thief</span>

  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
    bigboab's Avatar Poster BT Rep: +1
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    Surely the answer would be for someone to successfully sue the car manufacturers for inflicting bodily harm by car emission.
    The best way to keep a secret:- Tell everyone not to tell anyone.

  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
    Originally posted by clocker@22 September 2003 - 01:37
    It should come as no surprise that the automakers are resisting legislation.

    Through a massive and concerted advertising campaign they have managed to convince Americans that bigger is better, everyone needs four wheel drive, and, most astounding of all, that pickup trucks are actually practical urban vehicles.
    They would prefer not to mention that these vehicles are their biggest profit makers.

    Last March Denver got blasted with one of the "storms of the century". Massive snowdrifts closed the city ( and my neighborhood) down. Nothing was moving-not HumVees, not Navigators, not Explorers. Three days later, after the city snowplows had come by, the first car to leave the area was mine..a thirty year old Japanese sportscar.

    Of course my neighbors are all still firmly convinced that they need their monster SUVs.
    The best evidence yet that Americans really are stupid.
    Clocker,

    You are a total shit. America and Americans are #1 in everything, we are not really stupid, were are the stupidest&#33;&#33;&#33;
    Aren't we in the trust tree, thingey?

  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
    bigboab's Avatar Poster BT Rep: +1
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    Hobbes you really made a hash of that number one.
    The best way to keep a secret:- Tell everyone not to tell anyone.

  7. The Drawing Room   -   #7
    mogadishu's Avatar {}"_++()_><.,{}}[":+
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    suvs are a total waste of fuel, lives, etc. if some of us americans would try to stop making up for our wee wangs and stop thinking that buying a huge suv will make up for it.. then i think a lot more kids wouldnt die from asthma,
    signature removed, check the boardrules.

  8. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    Originally posted by mogadishu@23 September 2003 - 04:54
    suvs are a total waste of fuel, lives, etc. if some of us americans would try to stop making up for our wee wangs and stop thinking that buying a huge suv will make up for it.. then i think a lot more kids wouldnt die from asthma,
    ...or decapitation...

    good point
    <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>BLAH</span>

    <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Wayne Rooney - A thug and a thief</span>

  9. The Drawing Room   -   #9
    Biggles's Avatar Looking for loopholes
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    What does the average US car do in terms of mpg?

    My car does on average about 42mpg. It can take me well past the offical speed limit of 70mph and has all the usual crumple zones and air bags. I am not really sure I understand the link between mpg and safety. Is the argument that, in order to increase mpg, the US car manufacturers need to dispense with some weight like the passenger cabin so the occupants would have to sit on a plastic bench tied with string to the chasis?

    With the biggest car market in the world the European and Japanese manufacturers have not been slow to give the US consumer what they want. I read recently that over 50% of all sales now go to imports. To use an American expression, shouldn&#39;t the US manufacturers wake up and smell the coffee? Rather than try to preserve the right to continue to make cars with poor mpg through political lobbying, wouldn&#39;t it be better to make cars that people wanted?

    I am not familar with large American cars as they only seem to be sold in the US but from what I have seen on TV they lack the grace of a Lexus, BMW, Jaguar or a Mercedes. These cars are not small eco - prams but extremely fast luxurious status symbols - yet they all are capable of returning a decent mpg. I appreciate that these cars are a bit expensive but there are a whole range of Toyotas, Nissans, Volkswagons etc., that do an excellent mpg and are fun to drive. I find it hard to believe that there are not similar products from US manufacturers.

    What exactly is the point in having a car with 350bhp when you have such strict speed restrictions anyway? Or is that one of those "if you have to ask you will never understand questions"?
    Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum


  10. The Drawing Room   -   #10
    MagicNakor's Avatar On the Peripheral
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    Originally posted by Biggles@23 September 2003 - 22:22
    ...These cars are not small eco - prams but extremely fast luxurious status symbols...
    You answered it yourself.

    things are quiet until hitler decides he'd like to invade russia
    so, he does
    the russians are like "OMG WTF D00DZ, STOP TKING"
    and the germans are still like "omg ph34r n00bz"
    the russians fall back, all the way to moscow
    and then they all begin h4xing, which brings on the russian winter
    the germans are like "wtf, h4x"
    -- WW2 for the l33t

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