Tuesday, 4 July 2006
America's Auto Revolution
Now Playing: They Might Be Giants
Topic: New Vehicles
Oil hit $74 a barrel on Monday, and new car sales tanked (again) in June. Americans are revolting against higher gas prices by cutting back on the purchases of larger gas-thirsty vehicles, a year long trend that isn't likely to change anytime soon.
This quiet American Revolution (not exactly what Chevy had in mind) could push us towards a more worldly view towards driving and fuel consumption.
Poor SUV and truck sales are raining on the parade of Ford, GM and DaimlerChrysler, according to Bloomberg. GM sales fell a whopping 34 percent between May and June, and were off 13 percent from a year ago. Overall vehicle sales dropped by almost a million units from last year.
Bad news for the auto industry, but good news for environmentalists since fewer new car purchases means less older cars to hit the scrap heap. Since new vehicles get about the same mpg as the cars they would replace, there will be no tears shed by the greenies.
The Right to Drive Huge Cars And Use All the Gas I Damn Well Please is almost as ingrained in the American mindset as the Right to Bear Arms, but perhaps the 21st century will see a slow but permanent shift towards smaller less-consumptive vehicles and concern for fuel economy.
Yes, there will always be the individualists who will have to have the keys to their SUVs ripped out of their cold fingers (probably as the result of a rollover). Maybe just maybe someday the word Expedition will revert to referring to Lewis and Clark's trip.
Tuesday, 4 July 2006 - 10:15 AM PDT
Name: "Phillip Criley"
Home Page: http://www.pcwright.com
The auto manufacturers still have us by the throat and our government doesn't want to change the status quo. Just try to find an electric car manufactured in the US for less than $100,000.There is hope. In World War II there was an aircraft carrier named the Midway that was damaged so badly at the battle of the Coral sea that it had to be towed back to Pearl Harbor. The engineers said that it would take ninety days to get back in service. The navy took ninety hours. Its all a matter of wanting to get it done. The whole problem is control. The government knows that it cannot control diversified fuel such as hydrogen and alcohol. Moves toward commodities such as soybean oil and ethanol jepardize the government's ability to tax and spend. Like the bumper says: God help us and please hurry.
Tuesday, 4 July 2006 - 10:32 AM PDT
Name: Bill Giovinetti
For years now, the 60MPG+ SmartCar has been available in Europe. Europe and Japan have plug-in hybrids too. American Automakers are so far behind it's pathetic. Only when GM and Ford declare bankruptcy with oil at $80+ a barrel will government officials "Get it".
We have the technology and infrastructure to curb our oil addiction, but there is no focus or direction to do so. The "Decider" has spoken. Long live petroleum!
Tuesday, 4 July 2006 - 11:13 AM PDT
Home Page: http://Google
It's not just about Gasoline and Diesel fuels. It's about plastic, crayons, Ceramics Roofing, Hairspray,Waxes, Armor-All, etc. These all take petroleum in some facet to become what they are. The only way to satisfy our hunger is too stop eating and starve, or find more ways to feed ourselves, it's time to start drilling for more oil and gas AND start to look for real alternative fuels for the future . And I mean for real , not this half assed experimental crap they've been throwing at us for 50 years.
Where are all the great alternatives we were promised 30 years ago when we went through this? Why havn't we found our new fuels yet? WHY? because This world as we know is controlled by big oil and they dictate to us what we can and can't have. and they know how to keep us from standing up to them. We are all herion addicts by another name..........OIL.- J
Tuesday, 4 July 2006 - 11:14 AM PDT
You, just do not get it. It is to the governments benefit to bankrupt and move the big 3 us automakers out of business. This way they would have eliminated and destroyed the biggest pool of democratic voters and not to mention the unions. So if you think that the government cares what happens to the big 3, think again.
Tuesday, 4 July 2006 - 11:19 AM PDT
We are so naive to believe that the technology is not out there in the U.S. It is out there and it is in the control of the big oil companies who are either blocking the patents or controlling the patents so that this technology can get out to the masses. We need to change the logo on our monies from "In God We trust" to In OIL we trust".
Tuesday, 4 July 2006 - 11:22 AM PDT
Plastics is only 8% of world oil consumption.
Tuesday, 4 July 2006 - 11:59 AM PDT
Name: Brian Gordon
Home Page: http://www.themeek.ca
Now ask yourself, what percentage of plastic is oil? Meaning, as the price of oil goes up and its availability goes down, the same will happen to plastic. And fertilizer. And many, many other things we don't realize require oil.
Tuesday, 4 July 2006 - 12:10 PM PDT
Name: Gary Clayton
We sold an electric car about 7 years ago for $17,000, that's right, all electric and I think it was built in 1917! The technology has always been there, but the public wouldn't support it, with cheap gas.
In 1963 I could buy a hamburger for $.20 (6 for $1) and a gallon of gasoline for $.25 cents or less. Today I can buy that same exact hamburger from the same exact place for $2.40 and now gas is $2.70. Check out the price of houses, the most expensive item most people will ever buy, they have gone up more than gasoline! Therefore, is gasoline really high? Or is it just in line with inflation?
I don't own an oil well or one share of oil stock! I 'm just a realist. I think the price of oil needs to at least stay at this level or go higher to change our buying patterns. We have the power, we always have had, it's called BUYING power, yet we act like victims and want to blame someone else.
The problem isnít control and isnít the government, itís us! We control where we spend our money. If everyone sold their oil stocks, started investing in alternative energy companies, stopped buying internal combustion engines, the game would change faster than you think! We can do anything we want, we just have to want it bad enough.
Tuesday, 4 July 2006 - 12:58 PM PDT
I'm all for $5/gallon gas.
Tuesday, 4 July 2006 - 1:04 PM PDT
Name: C Miles
One need look no further than the EV 1 wikipedia entry to get an idea of what can be done. It's located here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_EV1
Not only was a great electric car designed, built, sold and used by the public- but by 1998 it also was the basis of 4 (then promising) new auto technologies. The EV-1 already had a great drag coefficient, imaginative ac motors, innovative HVAC and a modular battery compartment which would enable swap out as battery technology improved.
Even if the range was only 100 miles (its' first iteration)- The EV-1 would have been a great short distance fleet vehicle, or second car, or continued to be a platform for great PR
for GM (which surely needs it, as Tom Friedman of the Times has found GM such an easy Target of late!)
Instead of distributing a good number of these 1100 EV-1 cars to students/schools/universitities across the country, GM chose to crush all but 100 (or less). GM does not make this public, but a good portion of the "Billion" spent on this program was OUR TAX money (under the 1990's PNGV program)
Live Green, Go dopey!
Right up there with killing America's non-polluting Streetcar system by buying it up and replacing it with Diesel Buses (caugh, weeze, caugh)!
Finally, this year GM will release a Family Hybrid with a (supposed) more efficient system derived in part, from the EV-1 program. GM has no clue about PR
, or they would have made this link more clear, much earlier, and Hollywood would never have been able to make a movie about GM killing any promising auto technology.
Perhaps, before spending more billions on another future GM wunderkind panacea (this time a Hydrogen / Fuel Cell car program), while shuttering more plants, and laying off more workers, GM should take a few moments to make its existing business more responsive to the current marketplace.
To help our friends at the Big Three,
May I suggest that Wired could create the worlds first "Wiki" car? There are so many smart people out there, (many retired auto engineers!) each with an idea that would improve some aspect of the current fleet. Perhaps a wiki car for each technology.. I suggest to start, there be a wiki for a reliable, affordable, EV. Perhaps a wiki for combustion, etc. Such an ďopen sourceĒ car, would definitely shame some folks in Detroit- ... After all, for some server applications, LINUX is more trusted than Microsoft!