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Old 10-21-2007, 09:40 AM   #141
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It's my belief that the only real solution to maximum utility with maximum fuel efficiency boils down to the right tool for the job. Most people seem to focus on the idea that one vehicle should be able to do everything for them.

Unfortunately unless your needs are limited, that's a pipe dream. Modularization of needs and utility is a more efficient way to conduct daily life for most people. In other words, it makes more sense to look for vehicles which cover one or two needs really well, and supplement what they lack with another vehicle that covers those needs better.

For us, we had been in a quandry over how to fit 5-6 people, tow a boat, be comfortable on long trips, handle snow, and of course not spend half of our income on fuel. Obviously our income and fuel economy was the limiting factor there, as we had a crew cab truck that did the former 3 very well - but it was costing us $150/month around town for the extra utility that we only took advantage of on an occassional basis. Unfortunately, any currently available options to improve economy also required sacrificing one or more of the other features we need. We have wised up a bit.

Now, having sold the newer truck and payment we could barely afford, we have purchased two far more efficient vehicles to handle the daily tasks. The Mazda5 is about the most flexible vehicle we have owned yet, and it is not oversized to the point of significantly sacrificing fuel economy compared to the compact Mazda3 on which it is based. It seats 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 passengers, gets mid-20's around town without effort, even better obviously with some effort, and it is reasonably comfortable for all but the longest trips which we virtually never take. The rear seats fold flat, leaving a large amount of hauling space - and the 2 by 2 by 2 seating arrangement would allow us to put as many as 4 car seats in it if we needed to. (Thankfully not!) It is at this point, both our nicest vehicle - and - most useful on a daily basis.

Filling the void of snow car, we have the Tercel 4WD. It seats 5 and will haul our ski gear just fine. Plus it so far seems to return reasonable fuel economy and get me to work for a paltry up-front investment.

This essentially just leaves the task of towing open. But do we need a vehicle that will tow and handle all of our other daily needs? How about ANY of our other daily needs? No on both counts! So instead of the $30k vehicle we sold this spring that handled that, we intend to replace it with a much more stripped down older pickup which will for the most part remain parked most of the time. We may in fact be able to borrow said vehicle, and failing that, renting one is another option that would still save us allot of money.

My point is that people need to be encouraged to take a seriously look at their needs and make logical choices based on that, not the emotional 'I might need it to do all of this' focused mentality.
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Old 10-21-2007, 11:16 AM   #142
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too bad that for most selecting a vehicle is more about image and imaginary "needs" than real utility
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Old 10-21-2007, 12:18 PM   #143
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I personally believe there is some sort of "barrier" around the current 29'ish MPGs that most mid-size vehicles get today. ...
Yeah, as someone else said, it's the barrier between the ears.

It's also the barrier in Detroit.
Detroit is happy to view 30 mpg as good FE.
I've seen plenty ads that mention how MANY cars a maker offers that get 30 mph or better. Big whup.

Unfortunately that means the overall fleet on the road is getting considerably less than 30 mpg. If they could proudly claim many cars getting 40-50 mpg then the overall fleet might get something like 30-35 real mpg. That would be an improvement over our current situation, imho.
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Old 10-21-2007, 02:21 PM   #144
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Snax,

this is precisely why i do not understand the "raise the gas tax" mentality of MANY on this site. also some members have more than 2 vehicles. my thought is it should be: one vehicle per adult.

my family HAS made changes to the already high gas prices(altho they haven't kept up w/ inflation). we do NOT tow anything,take long trips,ski,or live in snow. we hardly go anywhere except work, school,shopping etc.

if other taxes for everyone are already being raised(they are locally here), i believe new fed taxes will reach more than just the rich elite, the new gas tax being one.

GW aside, we ALL are still polluting! if an ultra efficient full size car(hybrid or otherwise) was affordable for my budget, i'd buy it. isn't that what this thread is REALLY about?--making(or selling) more FE vehicles, not necessarily smaller ones.

Once again taxes are NOT the answer. the gov't(all levels) should focus on conservation and budgeting within. creating tougher FE legislation(auto makers) would help as well. many would say these are impossible. well, if taxes continue to go up, many of us will be in impossible situations(financially).

wonder what the affect on the eco system would be in the event of another deppression? more people cooking over flame,body secretion w/out sewage control, lack of maintanence on vehicles(more pollution, abandoned cars, increase in accidents), just to name a few.
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Old 10-21-2007, 02:28 PM   #145
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Once again taxes are NOT the answer. the gov't(all levels) should focus on conservation and budgeting within. creating tougher FE legislation(auto makers) would help as well. many would say these are impossible. well, if taxes continue to go up, many of us will be in impossible situations(financially).
Not to beat a dead economic movement, but I think you're missing the crucial point that the government doesn't buy cars for the people. Tons and tons and tons of regulations for conservation, the arts, this and that fail all the time because some people would really hard to get a law passed and then the public just doesn't give a crap.

Take for example the ZEV mandate in california. Was it the car companies that killed it? I think not entirely...some people worked really hard to pass that law and force the production of electric vehicles, but there wasn't enough incentive out there for people to buy the damn things.

You can talk about "government budgeting" and blah blah blah but it's all hot air if there's not motivation behind it. And I think a good talk with a couple of economists would learn you up on the fact that taxes are the best way to get things done. Obviously they're powerful forces, look at you always ranting about them!

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Old 10-21-2007, 03:11 PM   #146
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SVOboy,

on the contrary, you are missing MY point. that's right, the gov't cannot make the general public buy certain cars. but, they do not have to tax all for the bad decisions of the many(or few).

call it "political thinking.": it's wrong, wrong,wrong! but, i don't have the answer to fix it.

yes, motivation is great problem. if their was a car capable of 100mpg w/ little or no emissions i would buy it no matter how ugly as long as it was large enough to fit my family,safe, and affordable. or alt fuel driven for that matter.

and economics of another matter: it's good to see when interest rates go up people stop using credit cards. LOL. thank you Mr. Greenspan!

NOW, young man, about my sore spot w/ taxes. we'll pick up this conversation in, say, 15 years when and if you have a family to support. i realize that's my issue, but you pointed out my relentless ranting on the subject.

without a doubt, my situation is in the minority(here)--single income family of five on <$50k/year. YES, i believe taxes are out of control already w/ no end in sight. add to this my conservation efforts, i think i have a right to be bitter!
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Old 10-21-2007, 03:23 PM   #147
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on the contrary, you are missing MY point. that's right, the gov't cannot make the general public buy certain cars. but, they do not have to tax all for the bad decisions of the many(or few).
OR, the way it worked in EU.... It didn't change the public, it changed the market as mfr's were competing for lower FE cars.

How about this compromise..... In 10 years, a FE tax for new cars that don't meet FE criteria. This gives automakers time to optimize and then everyone buying a new car will have a choice (much like the guzzler tax works now - and that obviously hasn't been crippling our economy). It won't change anyone's taxes that buys used cars before the 10 year date.

That's the general idea - of course extra details for loop holes like the SUV farm equipment thing and extra details to make sure those that actually do need equipment get what they need.
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Old 10-21-2007, 03:34 PM   #148
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Treb,

nice one! seems fair enough.

i'm not ranting for or against gas guzzlers and related pollution and taxes. just want to provide for my family and do it w/out gov't assistance. if new taxes and tax increases continue, i WILL need help.

of course i support lowering pollution and i'm doing my part, and don't want to punished for those who do not care!
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Old 10-21-2007, 03:53 PM   #149
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Treb,

nice one! seems fair enough.

i'm not ranting for or against gas guzzlers and related pollution and taxes. just want to provide for my family and do it w/out gov't assistance. if new taxes and tax increases continue, i WILL need help.
Trying to find middle ground Usually that's the only way to get anywher with taxes....

In any case, I've been looking for data on the guzzler tax since the 70's... I've only been able to get collection data from 1992 and 1998 ('98 being the last published data, I think).

Collection
1992: 144 million
1998: 48 million

which would point in the direction that says the guzzler tax is working because the mfr's aren't paying as much.... Unfortunately, it's hard to control that statistic because when the tax was started, trucks/SUV category made up less than 25&#37; of the market - since then it's been over 50%

The funny part is, all of that money goes to assist farmers with a diesel tax AND to assist citizens with problems with the IRS...
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Old 10-21-2007, 07:48 PM   #150
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also some members have more than 2 vehicles. my thought is it should be: one vehicle per adult.
While I can understand the ideology behind having fewer vehicles, consider the reality that for the average family, both vehicles will likely be driven every single day. When one of those vehicles is a full size pickup or SUV, that just doesn't make sense in the long run from a fuel efficiency standpoint - and there will always be a need for them, however slight or necessary it might be. But that get's back to what I was saying: Why not rent to meet that need, or at least economize by keeping the guzzler parked until needed?

The fact is, we got by just fine with just one vehicle over this last November-August, but it ended up having to be the gas guzzling truck!
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