Hello fellow consumers. I would like to ask, what is wrong with Americans!? I just visited www.chevrolet.com and saw, how GM advertized its products with a slogan: 30mpg! That sounds like an economical disaster to me! To be economical, any car should nearly double that! No wonder American cars are sold almost exclusively in America. They are out-dated. Why do American people buy American cars? Is your fuel still too cheap? Gallon of gas costs here (Finland, EU) 5.25? ($7.72). My car takes me 50 miles with one gallon of diesel and it does it comfortably.... and it is 12 years old!
You answered your own question. Gas is cheap in America. While Americans are freaking out about $3.00 gas, most of the rest of the world would praise the heavens for gas that cheap. I think that gas needs to at least hit $5/gal before Americans make a real commitment to FE-focused cars.
You mention your car is a diesel. Unfortunately, those are pretty rare in America, and fetch a high premium over their gas-based siblings. Americans generally have no foresight, so something that costs more today is not worth the added cost, regardless if it saves them money in the future. Americans live in the present. No real hindsight or foresight. Anyways, other than VW TDis, there are no real diesels in America that offer decent FE.
Oh yeah, and the thing is that Americans DON'T buy American cars. Nowhere else in the world can you find people driving so many foreign cars... that I am aware of anyways. Here in Japan, almost everyone drives a Japanese car. Some opt for European cars, but the American car is a rare sight indeed.
You could really put the blame on any number of factors as to why America still hasn't gotten with the program in the FE department... but it all comes down to cheap gas in the end.
US EPA continues to crush diesels. Even European manufacturers are struggling to meet the current standards.
And don't forget about European taxes that are dramatic on the purchase of engines over 1000cc's, 1600cc, etc., in addition to licensing/registration fees thereafter. But that's what the European market bears.
Does the US have more private enterprise? Remember the F150 is the best selling American "car" in America. It's a pick up truck, and that reflects some needs of individuals to do work with their vehicle either at home or work.
Don't Opal's sell well in Europe? GM does still own them, right? Volvo still does well being owned by Ford. There are also a good number of Japanese manufacturers that design and build their vehicles in the US for import to other markets.
Anyway, smaller cars don't sell as well here because there's no volume in customers for them.
For Americans, the sad part is that the total cost of fuel for automobile transportation is going to be at least as much as now, and probably much more.
We will not have very fuel efficient cars at the current gas prices. Since only much higher gas prices will get us to buy gas-sipping cars, we can predict that we will have 40-60 mpg cars with gas at $5-6 per gallon. We will then be paying roughly the same per mile as we are now. And we find this level painful.
Between 1980 - 2000 my wife and I drove small Japanese cars that got 25-30 mpg (I believe) and gas was maybe $1.25-$1.75. So mpg will increase by only 50-100%, if we are lucky, but fuel prices are increasing 3x to 4x compared to that level we were used to for such a long time.
Transportation will cost us much more than we have been paying, and it can hurt our economy seriously.
Currently getting +/- 50 mpg in fall weather. EPA is 31/39 so not too shabby. WAI, fuel cutoff switch, full belly pan, smooth wheel covers.
Fuel prices will change. In March of 2001 or March of 2002, I was paying $0.69 for gasoline in Georgia. A lot of the current price is based on a couple things: the USD having a lower value and increased global demand for the supply of petroleum.
I many ways, that's great. Why? Because it's financially viable to make changes for businesses or personal use. Finally, there's a new gasoline refinery being built in the US, and one hasn't been built since the 70's even though, obviously, the demand and the need for gasoline has continued to increase. I'd love a good diesel car, but there are so few options here. Small cars aren't an option. If I have to take my kids and the neighbor kids to school, that's five kids and an adult, I can't do it in a Smart Car. I can't even to it in our Ford Focus.
So, Wild Willie, Americans do buy a ton of Japanese cars too. They get similar mileage. Very few are Yari's or Fit's. The Toyota's, Honda's, and Chevrolet's still have to build what sells. Don't for get about manufacturers like Lexus, Infinity, Mercedes, BMW, Volvo. Their cars that sell here are models that aren't on the top of economy, and they certainly aren't anywhere near 60MPG.
The issue is really the American mindset. Big, brash, wide open and hard working America. It takes a big vehicle to make America comfortable with all the stuff we carry over the many miles we carry it. Americans are can-do DIYers and haul gravel, lumber, toys, cabinets, furniture, bags of cement, tools, and trash...not just the always-mentioned soccer kids.
They don't always have room for more than one or two cars in the driveway, nor the money to title/license/insure/repair them. They buy for the work that will inevitably need accomplished on their owned or rented properties and then live with them the rest of the time. I think it would be over-generalization (and not just a little bit elitist) to proclaim these people as fools or pigs.
The price of gasoline is irrelevent in this scenario until it REALLY crimps a person's style of living.
I have my big truck for work stuff, a fast car for fun and style, and a cheap beater for MPGs. Not everyone can afford all that.
The price of gasoline is irrelevent in this scenario until it REALLY crimps a person's style of living.
Only on the surface. Transportation costs affect other prices and profits. Milk prices are incredible compared to a couple of years ago. That's related to two things: transportation costs (affected by petro costs) and food costs for animals (directly affected by ethanol subsidies and the demand and use of a feed product for food).
I concur that the price of gas proper is only one factor, and that it affects every other part of our economy. But my base assumption is one that is still relevant, IMHO.
Let us not forget that the price of gas today is artificially inflated and not the actual effect of primary availability. Between OPEC, the loan "crisis", restrictive eco-policies and the lack of domestic production, and the whims of futures traders, consumers are being bent over a stump.
If the planets were in alignment and the true supply/demand price of oil & gas were in place there would be no hue&cry across the land. The only people that would be concerned would be those solely concerned with pollution & Peak Oilers.
My big idea is that vehicle age and technology advances should create a linear MPG increase.
It was my recent argument that american automakers are focusing too much on "top of the line" high-end, big horsepower cars (Cadillac's focus on RWD V8's, the V-Series, Chevrolet laying millions of dollars on the line to bring back to Camaro, producing the GTO in the states rather than Australia, even though sales numbers were less than impressive, Charger/Challenger reintroduction, and lets not forget the Mustang) and not enough focus is being made to improve commuter cars, which is why the American Auto Market is FLOODED with high resale value imports.
Recently, while digging around local junkyards, I've noticed an ever increasing amount of domestics there, and they generally sit, unmolested, for quite some time. When I see a new import, a week later, it's been salvaged for every part, leaving only the shell.
My recent arguement was based around my parent's car, a 1992 Pontiac Bonneville 3.8L FWD. It gets 28mpg highway. Used to get 30mpg, but at 240k mi. its getting less efficient. So I said, take a car 15 years older than that, 1977. I guessed that an "average sedan" like the Bonneville, in 1977 would only get 15mpg... which is a safe bet. 15 years later, in 1992, that fuel economy had doubled, just as the timeline had. So why hasn't this continued? It's now 2008, 16 years later, the same "average sedan" isn't getting 45 mpg like I think it should.
I was approached about "american's don't want bubble cars, they love stylish cars".... aerodynamics arguement. A 1977 car is a boat. Plain and simple. 1992 cars were getting more rounded styling, more efficient aero. 2007 cars are boxy again, sharp angled, aggressive styling. It looks nice, yes. But what about modding the grill for aero? What about belly pans and rear diffusers? What about seeing less spoilers added to cars and more aero-friendly side mirrors? Small things like these take nothing away from styling (especially a belly pan) and the american public can still be pleased.
After that, the argument switched to horsepower. Someone said, in 1977 cars weren't choked like they are now with regulations. True, kinda. But as regulations have tightened, so has our technology. The opposer stated that a 1992 Bonneville is "weak" with only 170 hp, and used the new Pontiac G6 as a comparison to state, "the 2007 G6 gets 36 mpg and has 230 hp!".
If in 1992, a 170hp sedan like the Bonneville was able to get to highway speeds and not impeed safety while obtaining that speed, why not apply all the "new technology" of the "more efficient" 230hp 36mpg Pontiac G6, to a more refined 170hp Pontiac G6 capable of 45mpg? Seems logical to me.
This all happened on a Camaro forum I'm part of, which my attendance is dwindling to less and less. Muscle headed jackasses. They (and many other people) don't think the automakers have the technology of making more efficent cars. Their big arguments revolve around increasing HP to keep the american public happy. Who says we all need 300 horsepower 5.3L FWD torque steering monsters like the Impala SS or Grand Prix GXP? I for one, love the styling of those cars, but by no means do I require such horsepower. The speedlimits have stayed the same throughout the years, so why increase HP when we can't even use it and don't need to use it for safety reasons.
I'm fed up with the American Auto Industry and the simple minded followers. I don't want to buy an import, but I wish american automakers would bring more efficient cars to the US.