"Despite rising gas prices and a growing concern about climate change, the auto industry is going on the offensive to convince Americans to oppose dramatically higher fuel economy requirements. Led by Detroit's Big Three and Toyota Motor Corp., the industry is launching print and radio ads this weekend warning consumers that fuel regulations under consideration by the U.S. Senate would lead to higher vehicle prices and smaller and less safe vehicles.
The ads feature rural pickup owners [click for audio] and SUV-driving soccer moms [click for audio] SUV-driving soccer moms to make the case that a Senate proposal would limit consumer choice and tie the hands of automakers..."
The audio clips, should ye dare listen to them, require a strong constitution. They are exceedingly sickening to the utmost.
The Canadian auto sector is running what I'd call misleading ads today also.
In the context of current public concern about carbon emissions, they're rolling out the argument that new cars produce much less pollution than cars of just 10 years ago. This is true, but they fail to outline which pollutants they're talking about, and what their effects are.
Without naming the pollutant, they mislead people who assume that carbon emissions are also lower than they used to be. But because they're directly tied to fuel consumption, they have likely gone up or not changed, on a fleet average basis.
They're deliberately painting the FE issue as an environmental one because it's easily lost in the fog of FUD. Unfortunately making a farce out of democracy is effective against a fickle public who can't see past the plastic Jesus on the dashboard of their car.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein
I suspect the auto industry is reacting this way because this legislation would put them between a rock and a hard place. They would need to produce more fuel efficient cars to meet the FE requirements, but the formula that works elsewhere - building small, light weight cars - doesn't necessarily work in the US due to safety standards. In that case, they would have to engineer small cars with exotic safety systems, or large cars with exotic fuel saving technologies. Neither option would be cheap for the manufacturer or the consumer.
On the other hand, it may be that the profit margins are much greater on big expensive cars, and the industry doesn't want to give up any part of their cash cow market.
I believe the consumer should have choice. The sad thing though is that there are few inexpensive, gas-miserly cars to chose from today. I test drove a used Kia Rio ($10,600 ) and they tried to 'wow' me by saying that the car gets 46 mpg highway (~38 mpg US). Is this what people think 'good mileage' is when gas is over $1 a litre here? I want more choices without shelling out $20K+ for a smart car or HCH.