Well we know those aren't bad. Personally, I would rather have a tiny car. As long as it's enclosed, has some basic features, and can hold 2, I would be happy. I'll likely have to settle for something like a Civic. I'll probably only be happy once SUVs are phased out due to high gas prices.
Nah, people are going to buy what they are going to buy. Besides, it's far less of an environmental hit if you buy 1 car that fulfills 100 percent of your needs than if you buy 1 that covers 80 percent and a second car that covers the other 20 percent. Think about how much fuel and water are used and how much pollution is generated in the building of one car, from digging the metal and coal out to painting the final product and transporting it to market. One car represents tons of pollution and fuel use before it even leaves the factory, and proposing that everyone have a commuter only car and a family car means a heeuge increase in pollution and fuel use that should not be. Far better to let a family man or woman just drive a minivan with one person in it than generate the pollution and waste the fuel that would be needed for them to have a second car just for commuting.
I do agree on the truck thing. Too many people buy trucks for image than for actual hauling ability. Course, a lot of people buy them because they hate front wheel drive. I have one because I can't stand front wheel drive, but I also have need of a truck often enough to justify it, and usually when I need a truck I need it right here and right now, can't take the time to go try and round up a trailer somewhere.
I do not agree on the insurance. The only way the insurance company could accurately track mileage is by tracking your car. They have no business knowing where I go. Besides, if the insurance company makes a go of it, the tax man won't be far behind. They are already complaining that people are buying more fuel efficient cars and this is causing the fuel tax income to drop. If they tracked cars by miles for insurance, they could charge you a per mile tax on your travel instead of a fuel tax, which means your tax bill would go up while the guy with the Hummer would see his either remain the same or drop even though his heavier vehicle is doing more damage to the road. Even if they adjusted for vehicle weight, a hypermiler's road tax bill would jump dramatically if they went to a per-mile tax instead of the current per-gallon tax. Let's put that off as long as possible.
Geekguyandy, if fuel prices go up, so do food prices, clothing prices, ect. Everything goes up when fuel goes up. It would be far better to require better mileage from cars than to cause fuel prices to go way up. Nobody but the oil companies win when fuel prices go up, because the oil companies own the refineries, drilling equipment and points of sale. The drilling subsidiary sells to the refining subsidiary, the refining subsidiary sells to the sales subsidiary, the mother company turns out huge profits, yet says the cost is high due to "the price they have to pay for the crude." We will wind up paying more money for everything, and the oil companies will reap huge profits from it. You know, like they've been doing since gasoline went to 3 bucks a gallon.
We currently have a Mazda 626 and a Toyota ECHO. We are able to commute together 4 of 5 days per week, and use the ECHO. The Mazda is in great shape with only 80,000 miles on it, but it is a pig at 27 mpg.
We will be replacing the 626 with a smart car, and keeping the ECHO in the garage for our 'long runner'. It's getting a little long in the tooth, at 152,800, but if we can take the pressure off it will last for a while.....i.e. until there are better choices available for FE.
I wish I could get a Suzuki Twin or a diesel smart (for a decent price of course)
Telco, I would agree with what you said, but I feel like a big point was missing. Gas prices will eventually be extremely high compared to current standards. Once there is a shortage of fuel, prices will go up, but less will be sold, and the companies might make the same amount but that too will eventually dwindle down. If gas prices skyrocket AND everyone still drives as much as they do now, then the companies will get huge profits, but I don't think that will be the case for too long. I think once prices increase significantly, people will drive less and less and when they do it will be in more efficient cars.
I think $3 a gallon is not all that expensive. Compared to the $0.87 I once saw it sure looks like a lot, but gas was artificially cheap then also. It's still artificially cheap now too. If people had to pay the real price of gas, I don't think big cars would exist. Alternatives would be found, and by that I mean aerodynamics and energy efficiency, not crazy new sources of power that are implausable on a nation wide scale.
I didn't mean that we should all buy extra cars either. Ideally I would like to share a small car with my significant other, and find ways to carpool or bike to work most of the time and only need one car for two people. For people that need more space than that, I think it would be most efficient to own one small car and one larger one. My neighbor is a good example, they have something kind of like a Subaru Forester (no idea what it really is, but maybe it's a small SUV) and an Insight. One has a small commute and drives the SUV-thing, the other has a large commute and drives the insight. If they go somewhere and don't need much stuff, take the Insight. If they need to carry a bunch of people or a carload of stuff, take the SUV. It makes a lot more sense than both driving something that gets 20-30mpg.
Wishing fuel prices would go way up is pretty short sighted, and here's why:
The idea should not be to run up fuel costs until people can only afford to drive small cars because that does hurt everyone, and even spreads the costs of one man driving a Hummer to another man who doesn't even own a car. The idea should be to put heap big pain on the short little man that wants that Hummer, yet not deny him the right to do so if he's willing to pay for it.
One way to get gas guzzlers or huge SUVs off the road would be to require a gas guzzler tax be paid yearly, not just at purchase, and require larger vehicles like the Hummer be charged an insurance surcharge to help cover the excessive damage such vehicles cause when involved in accidents with smaller cars. How many people would be willing to pay more in guzzler tax and insurance costs per year than some people pay in operating costs for the lifetime of their vehicle, especially if they weren't allowed to write off those extra charges? How many Hummers would be sold if the buyer had to pay an extra 10 grand per year just in guzzler and insurance costs, than he'd pay if he bought a nice Mercedes sports car? What would happen to the resale value of that Hummer if a potential used car buyer knew he'd be paying those charges if he bought that Hummer used?
We'd also need a change in the CAFE rules that allow vehicles like PT Cruisers to offset 10MPG V10 pickups. Cars and trucks need to be classified by vehicle type, number of passengers and vehicle weight to prevent such disparities. Right now, it's just broken into cars and trucks, which allows the maker to make some dinky little piece of crap that gets phenomenal mileage, but is such a POS that nobody want them, then make gas guzzling vehicles that are big profit makers and still meet the standards. change this so that a Geo Metro won't offset a GTO, or so a PT Cruiser can't offset a half ton pickup with a V10, and you'll start seeing some major changes in what people drive. But, we'd need to match that up with an average fleet economy rate as well, to prevent the makers from just dropping the econoboxes altogether and just building the high end guzzlers.
Heh heh, wrote the post, went to lunch, then made a few edits and posted.
Yes, would be ideal to have everyone in the smallest, most fuel efficient car available, but you can't just take those choices away. And, I'd much rather not have to pay 5 bucks for a loaf of bread just because gas prices are 10 bucks a gallon due to some guy in a Hummer. Far better to let him pay a HUGE premium to drive something for image, than for me to pay through the nose just to get by.
If we make it so painful on the car maker (ie jacking up the CAFE standards in a way that they can't be perverted) AND allow the car maker more freedom in how he gets that fuel efficiency, either they will get the fuel economy up or develop a better way. Right now we are letting the oil company and auto maker dictate what we drive by the laws that are in effect, but changing them in the manner I described will force the automaker to either find a better way or go out of business, which they don't want to do.
In reality, we are paying an inflated price for motor fuel. The stuff is there for the taking, and it really doesn't cost that much to refine it. Just as in the mid 70s, fear, speculation and false shortages are causing the price to be as high as it is. Notice that any time the prices start to fall, a refinery "goes off line" and is very publicly announced "with no idea when it'll be back up." Nothing is said when said refinery goes back online 2 days later. There are no fuel subsidies, in fact almost 40 cents per gallon is tax, which has nothing to do with the cost of production. And I remember paying 69 cents a gallon just 20 years ago. 8 years ago it was less than a buck. Between the speculators and the oil companies, we are getting screwed over. Oh, did I mention the additional costs we all pay so Chicago can have its own fuel blend, LA can have its own blend, ect ect? If they changed the law so that only 3 blends were allowed, one for 87, one for 89 and one for 93 octane, and went with the most environmental formula possible, fuel prices across the nation would drop an average of 30 cents a gallon.
Nope. Higher fuel prices are needed because if for some reason lots of people converted over to more efficient vehicles (LOL!) and fuel prices don't go up, many of them opt to pile on more miles because now there is this huge build-up of unused credit in their budgets. Yes, people drive more when they think they can afford it. The gas price needs to go up to change behavior.
And the price of gas needs to go way up before most people will change.
2008 EPA adjusted:
Distance traveled by bicycle in 2007= 1,830ish miles
Average commute speed=25mph (yes, that's in a car)
"Just as in the mid 70s, fear, speculation and false shortages are causing the price to be as high as it is."
Did you forget that the US oil peaked in the 70s? We now have to import most of it.
I strongly think there will be no significant changes until prices go waaaaay high. Do you remember when they said "Once it get's over $2 a gallon, people will drive less"? Same thing happened was said at $3, and people still drive everywhere. Same thing will happen at 4 and 5 too. $10 might change how much we drive. Get above that and then maybe we'll see ome truely more efficient cars.