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Honda's Civic Hybrid is rated as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (AT-PZEV)

Rankings of the the top 8 auto manufacturers
Honda and Toyota lead the list with domestic manufacturers pulling up the rear

Honda has always been a leader in the realm of fuel efficiency and environmentally friendliness. The Japanese auto manufacturer has consistently rolled out Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicles (ULEVs) and Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEVs) that dump less polluting emissions into our atmosphere. Honda brought the first hybrid-electric vehicle to the U.S. market in the form of the Insight. The tiny, tadpole-esque two-seater weighed less than 1,900 pounds and managed to achieve EPA mileage ratings of 60MPG/66MPG city/highway with a manual transmission.

Honda was also one of the first auto manufacturers to reintroduce the use of continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) to the North American market in the mid 1990s with the Civic HX -- Subaru had first tried out CVTs in the 1980s with the Justy. CVTs allow the engine to run at the most efficient RPMs and allow for increased fuel efficiency. Likewise, Honda has resisted the urge to drop a potent V8 engine in its largest SUVs and luxury sedans and has instead relied on pushing its efficient 3.5 liter V6 engine family to customers who purchase its largest vehicles.

This level of restraint and eco-friendliness on the part of Honda has led it to be labeled as the "2007 Greenest Automaker" by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). This is the fourth consecutive year that the automaker has won the award.

The top 8 auto manufacturers -- which represent 96% of the U.S. car and light truck market -- were tested across ten MY2005 vehicle classes on tailpipe emissions and overall contribution to global warming. You can download the full results of the UCS test here (PDF).

"Honda remains the greenest U.S. automaker. The company installs clean technology across its entire fleet of cars and trucks and that consistency makes it a top environmental performer" said Don MacKenzie, a vehicle engineer for the UCS and author of the report. "In addition, Honda continues to have the best smog score in four out of the five classes."

Honda slightly beat out second place Toyota which has also made strides to cut emissions and improve fuel economy across its entire vehicle lineup. "Toyota's ranking shows that size is no excuse for a dirty fleet," MacKenzie continued. "All of the automakers have the technology today to make all of their vehicles, from two-seaters to four-by-fours, a lot cleaner."

Hyundai/Kia placed third with Nissan and Volkswagen taking fourth and fifth respectively. Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler rounded out the tail end of the list. General Motors was singled out for having the most vehicles in the lineup with EPA city mileage ratings of 15MPG or lower. Last place DaimlerChrysler was also criticized for its fleet of vehicles which produce 70% more pollutants than first place Honda and earned the "Rusty Tailpipe Award."

"There is a huge gap between the cleanest and dirtiest automakers," MacKenzie. "The winners are using clean technology across their entire fleets. The losers are installing it piecemeal, or not at all."

"Americans are paying closer attention to their personal environmental impact, and they want greener cars," said Ted Grozier of environmental strategy consulting firm GreenOrder. "The successful automaker is going to figure out a way to deliver those cars to consumers."

Just last week, President Bush issued a call to auto manufacturers to boost fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in new vehicles. Bush's plan calls for a 20% reduction in gasoline usage by 2017 and a halt in the rise of greenhouse emissions. The move is expected to cost the auto industry $114 billion USD.



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Of course American automanufacturers are last
By FITCamaro on 4/9/2007 6:55:22 AM , Rating: 3
Even if GM, Ford, and Dodge all had super efficient cars, the fact that they sell more trucks and SUVs than Honda, Toyota, or Nissan goes a long way to ruining their rating. When you compare vehicle vs. vehicle though of the same class and engine size, American cars are just as efficient as their imported counterparts. Sometimes when they're not it has to do with the fact that American cars typically have more horsepower than imports which slightly decreases mileage but its what the majority of Americans want. You're not going to notice the difference between 30 and 32 mpg either.




RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By qwerty1 on 4/9/2007 7:19:08 AM , Rating: 5
I beg to differ... 2 mpg can be a big difference. Let's say your car can hold 10 gallons of gas. That's 20 miles, or $2.00 (assuming $3/gallon) difference per refuel. Say you refuel once every two weeks, so that's 26 x 2 = $52 per year. Individually, that's not much. But let's assume there's 100 million cars in the US... that's $5.2 billion that could have been saved each year if people drove cars with only 2 more mpg.


By Fenixgoon on 4/9/2007 7:31:07 AM , Rating: 5
imagine how much people would save if they didn't live beyond their means, though.. that'd amount to a helluva lot more than $5.2B.... =)


RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By Howard on 4/9/2007 6:24:20 PM , Rating: 2
Is your house worth twice as much as your car?


By Diesel Donkey on 4/9/2007 11:08:40 PM , Rating: 1
Is your sarcasm-o-meter broken?


RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By Ringold on 4/9/2007 9:33:02 PM , Rating: 2
All of that is irrelevant, anyway. The option of the additional 2mpg is available to we American consumers, but other factors about a car rank higher than fuel efficiency, or at least influence our decision such that it's not an absolute priority. In the grand calculus scheme of the economy, American consumers simply value other things (such as size, style, cargo space, utility or whatever) more than they do this hypothetical $52 a year.

Some call it the invisible hand. I call it free will.


RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By Marlowe on 4/10/2007 2:43:28 PM , Rating: 3
There you have it. Freedom. I think the major cause of all this is the American mentality. If you didn't think "Ooh I like it big!" or walked around with big-headed attitudes your cars wouldn't be so big. Why is it that people from the US or Australia wants so different cars than people from the rest of the world? Why is it that Mercedes has to ship their new C-class to America with only V6 engines and not normal ones sold elsewhere? If your mentality were different, so would your cars be. Easy! And then that chart would look different.

My mate of mine muttered, after seeing a similar story on the news, why the americans weren't ashamed or had guilty consciences, and I answered maby they are and maby they have.. but probably not, it's just how they are.

Did you know 80 % of new cars sold in Norway in January were diesels? All of those use typically 5-6 liters per 100 km of highway, that's the equivalent of 40-50 mpg says google.. Why aren't you using diesel at all in America by the way? I've never really understood. It pollutes less and is therefore laiden with less taxes and is cheaper than gasoline here around.

Something else, why do you use the term "oil-burners"? It sounds like a very negative term for a in some ways better solution? And, I've said it before.. using MPG for measuring fuel useage is kinda misleading and sounds so unserious and non-important in comparison to xx liters/distance. :)

Someone always bashes people for not proving their numbers, so here is linkage about the 80% (in Norwegian tho): http://www.dn.no/dnBil/article1013302.ece

And leave Iran alone ffs. Peace. :)


By masher2 (blog) on 4/10/2007 2:54:36 PM , Rating: 3
> "Why aren't you using diesel at all in America by the way?"

Diesel cars pollute more, not less. Until recently, it was considerable more. But with new clean-diesel tech and low-sulfur fuel, the NOX and particulates are much lower than they use to be...but they're still worse than a good gas engine.

Diesels have lower CO2 emissions only...but pollution is higher.

> "And, I've said it before.. using MPG for measuring fuel useage is kinda misleading and sounds so unserious and non-important in comparison to xx liters/distance. :)"

And you're wrong each time you say it. The two terms are mathematical inverses of each other (plus the metric conversion of course) and equivalent in functionality.

> "If you didn't think "Ooh I like it big!" or walked around with big-headed attitudes your cars wouldn't be so big."

The rich of any nation buy large cars with powerful engines. If fuel wasn't so expensive in Europe, you'd see everyone tooling around in V-8s there also.


RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By Marlowe on 4/10/2007 4:33:53 PM , Rating: 3
"Diesel cars pollute more, not less."
Do you have any proofs of this? Kinda weird what several European governments are doing when putting more tax on gasoline then don't you think?

"The two terms are mathematical inverses of each other (plus the metric conversion of course) and equivalent in functionality."
Wow masher! Is that really so!? Do I really have to.. god..

What I was saying is that miles per gallon is psychologically interpreted in a different way than liters per 100 km. The former does at first glance measure the miles driven more so than the amount of fuel used when you drive. There's also a difference in the wording; MPG - the amount of miles you can drive per gallon. Versus liters/100km - the amount of fuel you will use each time you drive 100 km. It makes a psychological difference for how much people care about it in my opinion. You knew very well what I meant, you're just behaving childish.

"The rich of any nation buy large cars with powerful engines."
Yes, but that doesn't explain anything about the common American people, why car makers have to make special, big versions of their cars if they want to sell them in the USA.

You really pick and choose what you want to argue about huh.. that MPG argument thing was really unnecessary, and seemingly none of the others hold ground.


By masher2 (blog) on 4/10/2007 5:04:51 PM , Rating: 2
> "Do you have any proofs of this? "

Its rather elementary; I'm surprised you even challenge it. Here's a link to an NRDC primer on diesel emissions. Allow me to quote from part of it.

quote:
Diesel engines emit huge quantities of fine particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and dozens of toxic chemicals that harm human health and the environment...
Diesel engines emit much more PM than gasoline engines...
While EU NOx emission standards for 2008 are considerably less stringent than the upcoming American standards (in fact, the average European diesel car will emit nearly eight times as much NOx as the average American car at that time, regardless of its fuel)...
Today, with new clean-diesel technology and ultra low-sulfur fuel, the very cleanest of diesel engines can almost match the "average" gas-powered vehicle. But compared to the cleanest gas engines, they still lag far behind.

http://www.nrdc.org/air/transportation/psulfur.asp

> "It makes a psychological difference for how much people care about it...you're just behaving childish...."

Sorry, but if you think simply phrasing mileage as liters/km instead of miles/gallon is going to somehow convince people to drive less, then you should reconsider which one of us is being childish.


RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By hspder on 4/10/2007 6:03:40 PM , Rating: 3
Marlowe, masher2:

I'm originally from Europe (lived in 3 different countries there) but am now a US Citizen, so I know both places quite well. There's a few things I feel need to be clarified.

First of all, reading Marlowe's posts, the irony of the fact that Norway's wealth comes in great measure from oil is so mind-boggling my head almost exploded.

Second, and more seriously, with regards to some of your comments:

a) The "new" ULSD is basically the same diesel fuel that Europe has been using for a long, long time. Virtually all diesel engines will be using it fairly soon in the US, so the Sulfur problem is gone for all intents and purposes

b) It is true that old Diesel engines, even with ULSD, have NOx and particulate problems. However, German auto manufacturers have solved that with BlueTec, which has two systems who reduce them. masher2 did acknowledge that (although he did to call out Bluetec by its name) -- the thing is, these are far from being fringe engines; the technology will be ubiquitous across Mercedes, BMW, Audi AND VW models within two years in Europe. Unfortunately, these manufacturers are dis-encouraged from even attempting to put those out in the US market because of the FUD that people like masher2 spread. People here perceive Diesel engines as slow and dirty, so they won’t buy them even if they are clean and fast (like the Audi V12 TDI engine).

Bluetec-equipped engines are, per mile traveled, FAR cleaner than Gasoline engines with similar power.

c) I'm tired of silly comments about how big Americans cars are. Yes, they're big. And big, heavy cars require big, heavy engines. Now get over it. Reducing the size of the average American car would require a monumental, even spectacular, change in EVERYTHING in the US.

Let me explain:

This is a huge country with tremendous urban sprawl. Everything is far away from everything -- spread apart. Efficient public transit systems are impossible in most of the US (the Northeast is the exception because it is so much like Europe: extremely concentrated urban areas). A huge percentage of cargo has to be transported by truck (rather than by train), because it is far more efficient (a huge freight train is only useful between hubs; the spokes have to be cared for by trucks).

The road network is therefore tremendous -- and hence impossible to maintain all in good condition -- and filled with... trucks.

Only people who have very little consideration for their lives are stupid enough to commute every day in a small car. The odds of, during a 20 mile (average) commute, in the US, of getting hit by a truck, are pretty high. And if a collision between a 1 ton small car and a 3+ ton truck, guess who wins?

Example (real) story:

http://testpattern.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/01/2...

Small cars are also dangerous on their own -- not to speak uncomfortable -- in extremely uneven, damaged roads with frequent roadkill like the ones many regions have (notably California). If you go over a huge pothole, or run across a large animal, or a piece of large debris (like a ladder that fell off the back of a pickup -- happened to my friend) you’re much better off with a larger car.

I'm an environmentalist, an ex-European, and I try to use public transit as much as possible. However, there's no way I'd put myself or my family in, say, a MINI, over here in the US. I have an Audi Q7 4.2. Which -- irony of ironies! -- is one of many gas-guzzling EUROPEAN luxury cars. I know, it's not environmentally friendly. But my family's safety is first and foremost -- what's the point of saving the environment if we'll be all killed in a car accident?

Now, give me that Q7 with a V12 TDI Bluetec engine and I'll be a happy camper.


By masher2 (blog) on 4/10/2007 6:21:19 PM , Rating: 2
> "Bluetec-equipped engines are, per mile traveled, FAR cleaner than Gasoline engines with similar power..."

Good post hspder, but you're wrong about this point. Bluetec is the cleanest diesel technology yes, and it may be ubiquitous soon. But the fact remains that it just barely meets the CA LEV Bin 5 standards for CO, NOx, and particulates. That's a tough standard, but still considerably more polluting than a ULEV, a SULEV (tighter still), or PZEV and ZEV (tightest of all)

Many gas-powered vehicles make these tighter standards. There are quite a few ULEV vehicles...the Toyota Matrix, the Hyundai Elantra, etc. In the tighter SULEV category, the Ford Focus and the Pontiac Grand Prix meet the bill, along with the Insight hybrid. In the PZEV category, we have the Prius, the Subaru Legacy, and the Camry Hybrid.

ALL of these vehicles have considerably lower emissions than even a Bluetec-equipped diesel.


RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By czarchazm on 4/10/2007 9:57:27 PM , Rating: 2
Masher2 seems to be correct from a logical perspective about the cleanliness of diesel burning engines. While diesel does have a higher energy density, it also is refined less than gasoline.

So, even though gasoline pushes the car forward less (probably far less) than diesel, it is possible that the gasoline engine will still put off fewer emissions because the dirty chemicals in diesel simply aren't there in the gasoline.


RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By hspder on 4/11/2007 11:37:51 AM , Rating: 1
The way you ignore the CO, HC and especially CO2 emissions and not compare engines with similar power envelopes is intellectually dishonest.

A 4-cilinder Bluetec engine with 170 hp produces 0.06 g/km of CO, 0.08 g/km of NOx, 0.01 g/km of HC, 0.001 g/km of particulates and -- pay attention now -- 150 g/km of CO2.

A similar 4-cilinder *Gas* engine with the same HP produces 200 g/km of CO2 -- that is 50 g more CO2 per km. It produces 0.238 g/km of CO, 0.037 g/km of HC, 0.021 g/km of NOx and no particulates.

So it produces also MORE CO and more HC. The only areas it produces less pollution is 0.06 g/km less of NOx and no particulates. But we're talking MINUTE amounts here, especially if you compare them to industrial emissions.

On the other hand, the extra 50 g / km of CO2, plus the extra CO and HC far overwhelm that -- by three full orders of magnitude in total.

Looking at the average engine and mileage in the US, if you convert to Diesel, you'll be producing ONE TON less of CO2 per year while enjoying the same power (and higher torque, by the way). You'll also be putting out almost 4 kg less of CO if you use a Diesel.

So stop being intellectually dishonest and focusing on a small part of the pollutant zoo; European Governments are NOT complete idiots in providing incentive to the use of Diesel. Saying Diesel is dirtier is spreading FUD for no reason. DIESEL IS CLEANER.

(emission data obtained from http://www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk/ and http://www.bluetec.com/)


By masher2 (blog) on 4/11/2007 12:17:54 PM , Rating: 2
But you're comparing the cleanest possible diesel engine to the "average" gasoline engine. And still it loses on particulates and NOx..by far the two most damaging forms of air pollution. Compare the Bluetec engine to the cleanest gas engines, and it loses on HC as well.

As for CO2, its not an air pollutant. Its airborne plant food, nontoxic and wholly nondangerous to human health. It's produced by every living creature, as well as the planet itself, in quantities far greater than that produced by automobiles.

My point stands. Diesels are more efficient than gas-powered engines. But they also generate considerably more air pollution.


RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By hspder on 4/11/2007 1:18:32 PM , Rating: 1
You seemed to have missed the part where I said that the numbers came from a gas engine with a similar power envelope. So no, it's not the "average" gas engine, I'm comparing apples to apples.

If you don't believe me, check the website for yourself.

I'd dig out numbers from a lower power pair (i.e., a lower power diesel and a lower power gas engine), and I could also dig up the numbers showing Industrial -- and commercial, i.e., from freight traffic -- NOx and Particulate emissions in the US, but you've clearly made up your mind. Hopefully other readers will not be as close minded... and I haven't completely wasted my time doing some actual research.


By masher2 (blog) on 4/11/2007 2:15:37 PM , Rating: 2
> "it's not the "average" gas engine"

Its the average gas engine of equivalent power...compared to the cleanest possible diesel.

> "check the website for yourself."

But you didn't name the gas vehicle you compared against, nor could I find figures on the Bluetec site you gave, though admittedly I didn't click on every single link and read every single article.

But still, you have yet to refute the primary point. Even using your own figures, diesel loses on the worst forms of air pollution-- particulates and NOx. Comparing it to the cleanest gas engines...it loses on everything else as well. Which is what I said from the start.


RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By hspder on 4/11/2007 6:10:05 PM , Rating: 1
The numbers are for 4-cilinder Mercedes engines (diesel and gas) in the 2-liter class (the ones in the MB C220 Bluetec and C200, respectively -- same power envelope). I've driven cars with those two engines, so I have first hand experience with them.

And since you insist, let's do this:

Find me the "cleanest" gas engine that ALSO outputs at least 125 kW (170 hp), has decent torque (very important for the US market -- I'm actually giving you the advantage by not asking for 400 Nm of torque like the C220 Bluetec has) and has better CO2, CO and HC emissions than the C220 Bluetec (numbers in g/km so it is easy to compare) and I'll concede the point on *those* byproducts.

(I'm calling them byproducts so we don't get bogged down in a discussion about semantics)


By masher2 (blog) on 4/12/2007 8:25:45 AM , Rating: 1
I'll be happy to, but first you need to confirm the figures for Bluetec emissions as they don't appear to be anywhere on that site...and even the glowing press releases from DaimlerChrysler simply call the Vision C Bluetec engine the cleanest diesel in the world. Certainly if it were the cleanest engine overall, you think they'd be trumpeting the fact.


By hspder on 4/12/2007 11:24:26 PM , Rating: 3
Oh, for crying out loud! Are you trying to convince ANYONE that you're smart enough to be so sure about your claims but not smart enough to research the numbers?

I put up TWO links, and you conveniently ignore one of them, much like you conveniently ignore CO2, CO and HCs...

You can fool all the people some of the time, you can fool some people all the time, but you cannot fool ALL people ALL the time.

Want more numbers that can be found in a few seconds?

Take the Honda Accord, a PZEV vehicle (as low as they get in that class) with a 2.4 liter engine of similar power than the C220 Bluetec I mentioned.

Here are its numbers:

200 g/km of CO2
0.33 g/km of CO
0.070 g/km of HCs
0.010 g/km of NOx

Do you still think the MB gas engine I put up was "average"?

Sure, if you take a 1.8 liter Civic (a ULEV-2) for example, the emissions will be lower (158 g/km of CO2, 0.19 g/km of CO, 0.023 g/km of HC, 0.006 g/km of NOx) HOWEVER that's a slow car with a low power, low torque engine! If you want to compare to a similar power Diesel, you have to compare with the Diesel Honda uses on the Civic in Europe: 140 g/km of CO2, 0.12 g/km of CO, 0.015 g/km of HC.

This data is from the website you conveniently ignore -- http://www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk; I've tried about 10 different pairs of diesel and gasoline engines of similar power and EVERY SINGLE TIME, the Diesel has lower CO2, lower CO and lower HC emissions for the same power output.

And, again, I'm choosing to give you the benefit of ignoring torque; you must realize Diesel engines of similar power will have much more torque than its gasoline counterpart. So you get the same power, more torque, better mileage and lower CO2, CO and HC emissions.

As I said before, there is a reason European Governments provide extremely strong incentives for the use of Diesel. There is also a reason 44 auto journalists from all over the world just gave Mercedes the Yearly environmental award for the E320 Bluetec diesel.

You need to realize that if you want to call people idiots, you need to have some hard FACTS to back up your claims -- or you'll be the one looking like an idiot...


By retrospooty on 4/9/2007 11:08:58 AM , Rating: 2
"American cars are just as efficient as their imported counterparts"

Not under any circumstances is that statement true, not since maybe the 1970's, possibly earlier.


RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By Noya on 4/9/2007 11:17:40 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Sometimes when they're not it has to do with the fact that American cars typically have more horsepower than imports which slightly decreases mileage but its what the majority of Americans want.


Since when did the average (4-door, $25k-30k'ish, mass produced/sold) American car have more power than a comparable Japanese car?

The V-6 Nissan Altima 02+ and mid-90's Maxima's have had more power than the average car for a long time. The Accord has also had 240+ for a while.

It's evidently not what the majority of American's want, as domestic car have been in the red for a very long time, while the Camry and Accord have flourished. People want quality, reliability, looks and resale value and continue to pay the premium for imports.


RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By dever on 4/9/2007 1:25:05 PM , Rating: 3
Not only that, but the big three American car companies are straddled with oppressive unions. The unions alone prevent them from moving quickly and adapting to the market. Combine that with their historic sluggishness and it's a recipe for failure.


By Ringold on 4/9/2007 9:38:13 PM , Rating: 4
The unions deserve their fair share of the blame, they absolutely do. The UAW has given some ground, which is good, but they run the danger of protesting their way out of their jobs. If GM or Ford couldn't manage to be competitive with their current legacy costs compared to their rivals, and needed further cuts, and if the UAW decided to strike, it'd send the American manufacturers down a quick, slipperly slope to oblivion. It's not just US makers, though, but also European ones. Volkswagen, for example, it almost crippled by their European unions.

Also worth noting that non-union wages within the same industries have risen quicker over the last 15 years or so than union wages have. The bottom line is that the usefulness of union's in American industry has long since run its course in their current form.


By masher2 (blog) on 4/10/2007 9:00:45 AM , Rating: 4
> "My Honda was manufactured in America by a union worker. Unions aren't the issue here"

If you're speaking about the Maryville plant, the UAW was unsuccesful in unionizing that location. In fact, they've been largely unable to penetrate the Japanese transplants at all:

http://www.baynews9.com/content/9/2007/3/25/233998...

Furthermore, in those few locations unions are in Japanese shops, they're relatively young organizations, and thus haven't built up the framework of featherbedding and other costly tactics that are so damaging to the bottom line.

And finally, I have to point out that, while both US and Japanese automakers purchase a huge amount of parts from outside their organization, the US makers do so primarily from unionized companies...meaning they're hit with the union tab twice on every vehicle.


RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By amac21 on 4/10/2007 2:49:00 PM , Rating: 2
I can't claim to know much about the union issue, but I know I read last week that the top 2 execs at Ford earned over 60 million dollars last year. Not a bad reward for driving a company to a 10 billion dollar loss!

How many union jobs might be covered by such a windfall?

When you're bleeding, cost cuts should start at the top!


By masher2 (blog) on 4/10/2007 3:03:44 PM , Rating: 2
> "How many union jobs might be covered by such a windfall?"

At $35/hr plus benefits -- about 600 employees. Out of Ford's total workforce of 327,000 people...a rather small drop in a very large bucket.

Also, given that the CEO of Ford is William Ford, and thus one of the major stockholders as well, he's bleeding as much from the losses as any other owner.

Honestly, people need to realize companies don't exist to guarantee jobs to people. They exist to make a profit for their owners. If the shareholders are fine with the CEO's salary, then the rest of us should just shut up and let them spend their money how they wish.


By theapparition on 4/10/2007 5:39:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
.....and are designing their cars in a manner that discourages consumers from servicing the cars themselves at a lower price point.

I'd wager that if you talked to any experts (i.e. mechanics), not one will tell you any import is easier to work on than domestic, in general. Japanese cars, in particular, do a fantastic job of packaging everything into a tight space. That high level of packaging, comes at the price of reduced servicability. This is easily evident in the price disparity between import and domestic service costs.

Just because your friend had a car with a poor design doesn't make it a rule. I can name several instances where, to change a belt, meant either drilling a hole in the wheel well, or removing the engine.


By feelingshorter on 4/9/2007 11:37:47 AM , Rating: 1
I went to www.fueleconomy.gov to check your research. Lets compare Ford/GM vs Toyota/Honda.

Ford Focus/GM? VS Corolla/Civic.

Year Make/Model [City/Hwy]
2000 Ford Focus 2.0 Liters [23/30]
2000 Honda Civic 1.6 Liters [24/32]
2000 Toyota Corolla 1.8 Liters [25/34]

2007 Ford Focus 2.0 Liters [23/31]
2007 Honda Civic 1.8 Liters [25/36]
2007 Toyota Corolla 1.8 Liters [26/35]

All the cars listed above are automatic, 4 cylinder. I couldn't find what was a comparable GM car. Click GM under fueleconomy.gov and all you see are SUVs/Vans/Trucks. I know GM manufactures Cadillacs but I don't believe those cars are in the same class as the cars above. Those mileage numbers are according to the new rating system also.

Funny how the website doesn't list as much information as they used to, such as the horse power, and not just displacement.

Looking at that information what do you see? In SEVEN long years, the focus +1 to hwy mileage and +0 to city! That means in 7 years, the Focus lost 2-3 city and 5-6 miles per gallon compared to the Civic/Corolla. Technology improves. The Detroit suits must be out of there minds if they think everyone thinks like you do as though "2-3 miles don't make much of a difference." Multiply that by how many gallons of gas, and you see a huge difference on the highway, and even in the city.

I don't want to type too much but I'll say one thing. Japanese cars run at higher RPM to achieve faster speeds. Just because the Honda is lower in displacement compared to the Focus doesn't mean it will lose in speed. Honda started off making motorcycles, and their car engine build resembles that fact. They run at higher RPM instead of just having a bigger engine displacement. That is also true for other Japanese car manufactures. Even their "super" cars, such as the Supra/NSX and Skyline. The Skyline, in Japan, doesn't have a bigger engine every year to make it faster (last time it herd, it stayed at 3.0 liter v6 I believe). Instead, they rely on having new features, such as staggered wheels, better transmission, having the ability to switch between 4 wheel drive and rear wheel drive, having an advanced limited slip differentials, and such such. Thats where REAL engineering ingenuity shines. Thats why Toyota/Honda is doing ok, while Ford/GM is bleeding money out of their asses. 7 year no change = no chance. Man I read so many WSJ/BusinessWeek articles about Ford/GM. There was even one on WSJ that analyzed (or the author guess) who the Detroit suits think. Read it...Then laugh at how they dug their own graves by thinking the same way you think.


By masher2 (blog) on 4/9/2007 12:22:01 PM , Rating: 4
If you cherry pick cars, you can prove anything. For instance, looking at the Si version of the Civic, you get:

2000 Civic Si MPG: 26/31
2007 Civic Si MPG: 23/32

Meaning that, in 7 years, the Civic actually lost a bit in overall mileage, whereas the Ford Focus gained slightly.


By feelingshorter on 4/9/2007 12:58:39 PM , Rating: 1
Prove what now? You just proved my point even further...That car is more people who want just a little more horse power, not what I would call a good comparison to the Ford Focus. Fine, lets go by YOUR pick of cars. The Si still gets better gas millage and is faster than the Focus.


By masher2 (blog) on 4/9/2007 1:45:17 PM , Rating: 4
> "You just proved my point even further...The Si still gets better gas millage and is faster than the Focus. "

Err, no I didn't. Your original implication was that Honda had improved their technology (and thus MPG) in the past 7 years, whereas Ford and GM had sat on their ass. But for this particular model Honda, average mpg actually declined over that period.

As for the Si "getting better mileage", I see a mileage of 27/37 for the Focus, or substantially better than the Civic Si.

http://www.edmunds.com/new/2007/ford/focus/1007168...


By i4mt3hwin on 4/9/2007 2:15:37 PM , Rating: 2
Masher's point was that by cherry picking certain cars you can show improvements and declines in certain cars. Unfortunately this isn't only limited to cars but all statistics and some people know how to abuse it better then others.


By Sureshot324 on 4/9/2007 8:12:19 PM , Rating: 2
You're looking at the old EPA ratings. It's true that the Civic Si gets slight worse mileage than a focus, but the Civic Si is a sports car and has 200hp and should be compared to the Focus SVT (now discontinued.. The focus is an economy car and only has about 130hp and should be compared to a regular Civic.

The reason the new Civic Si gets slightly worse mileage than the old one is because it gets a lot more power (the 2000 Si only got like 150hp I think). Sports cars are a very small part of the market, so the mileage from them won't affect the environment as much.


By theapparition on 4/10/2007 5:47:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
the Civic Si is a sports car

Please.........don't ever utter those words in the same sentence again. The civic is nowhere near the same class.


By feelingshorter on 4/9/2007 10:54:18 PM , Rating: 2
Thats a performance car. Thats why it gets worse gas millage. Its so d@mn obvious. I was comparing people movers and your comparing a sports car, which only focuses on speed, and not fuel economy. The Ford Focus is a people mover, and should of improved its fuel economy. You have yet to prove that the Focus is in the same class as the Civic Si, and the Civic costs more (and so do many Ferraris and BMWs that dont improve their fuel economy).

You know what, I don't care. Ford is getting owned in sales. Even if they did not have problems with the health plan packages they give to their employees, less people are buying Fords vs foreign cars. So your argument of how Ford hasn't sat on their asses, WHICH THEY DID, then why is the Corolla/Civic selling better?

Detroit has one of the highest (if not the highest, according to a WSJ article) rates of truck drivers/other big cars. All day long, the people who run those companies only see their own cars being driven. Why? Cuz its the home of the automakers, and people who work for them buy their cars. The suits think to themselves "why are we doing so bad? Everyone drives trucks/SUVs/big cars" as they look outside their window. Maby of the Detroit suits would pull their head out of their asses and actually innovate.


By masher2 (blog) on 4/10/2007 8:47:29 AM , Rating: 3
> "The suits think to themselves "why are we doing so bad? Everyone drives trucks/SUVs/big cars" as they look outside their window..."

I live a very long way from Detroit, and you'd have to look hard to find a family near me that doesn't have an SUV or two in the garage.

And in all your discussions about GM and Ford, you have forgotten that, by sheer sales volume, GM is the largest automaker in the world. Ford is third. They're not "doing badly" because they're not selling cars...they're doing so because they're not able to make them as cheaply as other automakers.


By FITCamaro on 4/9/2007 12:31:10 PM , Rating: 1
No. GM and Ford are bleeding money from huge medical, retirement, and wage costs. Honda and Toyota don't have the aged labor force that GM and Ford do. In 30 years, they'll be in much the same boat. Unions haven't become throughly entrenched in them like they are at Ford and GM. Wisely, they're trying to not let the unions in as much. Unfortunately GM and Ford can't get rid of them quite so easily.

Unions are killing domestic manufacturers by causing people doing unskilled labor, or even at times nothing at all, to be paid $25-35 an hour or more. There are rooms at these plants where guys sit and do nothing but get paid for it, simply because GM and Ford can't fire them because of labor contracts. They're slowly getting rid of them. But its costing them a fortune to do so.

Also I don't know about you, but I don't like having to wind an engine to 5000+ rpm to get any kind of power out of it. My Cobalt's 2.4L starts to kick in around 2000 rpm and is making its torque by 3000. Granted in normal city driving I don't take it much above 3500 if that. But with a Honda it has to work harder. I've driven Honda's and my Cobalt. My Cobalt is far more responsive and gets equal mileage. Right now with an 8 mile commute thats mostly city driving I average 27-28 mpg. With a 12 gallon tank (although I've never managed to get more than 11 into it), I put 10 gallons or so in every 2 weeks(sometimes 2 and a half weeks). That's perfectly acceptable to me. And it's premium gas no less. I was in Washington, D.C. this past week and had a Chevy HHR rental with the 2.2L Ecotec. While not as responsive as my 2.4L, it was ok acceleration and in a week I used 2.2 gallons of gas doing entirely city driving. A friend of mine rented a 2.2L auto Cobalt and between Orlando and Melbourne, FL he got around 38-40 mpg.

Advertised numbers don't mean anything. Imports get good mileage but so do domestics. And I'd rather have the domestic since it's more tuned for driving here and having power both down low and up high rather than just up high as with an import. I'll admit several of the import V6s out there are nice and make good power, but they often want way too much for those models to the point where I can get a V8 powered car with nearly as good a mileage. Acura's 300 hp TL V6 6-speed that gets 20/29 mpg or so costs more than a Pontiac GTO with 400 hp, a 6-speed, and 18-19/27-28 (often better) mpg.

And I've driven imports with shitty mileage too. My dad's 95 4Runner was a dog and had no acceleration whatsoever over 40 mph and got 14-15 mpg in the city and 18-19 on the highway with a V6.


By feelingshorter on 4/9/2007 1:21:39 PM , Rating: 2
The same stories can be told about your Colbalt getting good gas millage as can be told of people driving Civics/Corolla, manual or auto. I'll admit that you can get a Colbalt for much cheaper though, and that brings into the question how long the car will last. My parents have owned a Corsica, brand new, from long ago. Will never touch an American car again, I don't need to tell you how much money we spent on repairs. Since then, bought a 06 Camry, and no major repairs at all and still running today.

Maybe I gave some people the wrong impression when I said Honda need to run at higher RPM. Anyone that drives a Honda knows that their engine doesn't need to touch 5000 rpm in regular day to day driving. Drive an Accord, those cars aren't slow.

Your real life speed will be limited by a lot of traffic and stop lights. Your speed will is also limited by how much balls you have to speed 15-20 miles over the speed limit on a 45. Other than that, if your driving just 5-7 miles over the speed limit in a city, whats all that power good for? Fine, take your car on the highway for example. I've been in many civics and they keep up with highway speeds just fine.


By Ringold on 4/9/2007 9:45:11 PM , Rating: 2
I test drove a Civic about a year ago and took it on a very short jaunt on a highway.

You're right, once it's at highway speeds, it was.. acceptable. But I floored it trying to achieve that speed and merge in to traffic tearing along at 75mph. Didn't just floor it for a moment, either, but continuously -- it just didn't have any oomph.

After considering that, and the fact it felt like a little tiny coffin, was deal-killer. Maybe flooring the accelerator and only slowly achieving merging speed is your idea of "just fine", but it wasn't for me. I think it'd of gone quicker if I'd got out and pushed..


By weskurtz0081 on 4/10/2007 8:38:19 AM , Rating: 2
Hold on man,

This whole article was over gas mileage, and so have been the conversations. You ask how long the Cobalt will last.... probably isn't a good answer to that question as it is still a fairly new car. The first one came out around what.... 2 years ago? Also, you use a 1 year old car as an example of why Toyota makes good cars?

How do you know what anyones real life speed will be? How many Cobalts have you driven? My issue with your post is that it's all your opinion and doesn't do a good job at proving any points. For the record, I drive a Tundra, and this is my second one.


RE: Of course American automanufacturers are last
By dever on 4/9/2007 1:36:54 PM , Rating: 2
I'm surprised that with your fairly accurate assessment of unions that you still are loyal to the "American" car companies. When you buy from a unionized car company you pay for all of the inherent inefficiencies. You're paying for unskilled workers being paid $30/hour. You're paying for union cronies that can't get fired, but refuse to work. Why reward that sort of system?

My dad retired from GM, and even with the employee family discounts I get the only car I can justify purchasing from GM is the Nummi (Toyota) joint venture vehicles.


By FITCamaro on 4/9/2007 5:33:00 PM , Rating: 1
Because I'd rather put money in greedy American corporate pockets than greedy foreign corporate pockets. I'm a Chevy guy (if you can't tell) and Bob Lutz is working his @$$ off trying to get Chevy back to the car company it used to be. You don't hear about him riding corporate jets to his home in Florida every weekend like the guys at Ford. He brought us the GTO, he's bringing us the new Camaro and Pontiac G8, and many more vehicles to come.

As far as the quality though of my corporate greed, overpaid union built Chevy, I find it fine. 33,000+ miles in 16 months and nothing but oil changes and the 30,000 mile service needed. Still on stock brakes, tires, and plugs. And yes, I'm paying for those inefficiencies. The car is still cheaper and just as good. Now imagine what they could do if all that crap were gone.

Call it patriotic or idiotic, I'll keep supporting the car companies that have been here for years and will continue to be for years to come. Honda and Toyota just build cars. Chevy and, yes, Ford, build legends.


By Ringold on 4/9/2007 9:47:36 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, you're *not* paying for those inefficiencies! If GM and Ford is operating at a loss in North America, it show's that they're selling below true costs, which means they're taking that inefficiency on the chin and the consumer gets a car at below value.

Bites for stockholders. Good for FITCamaro. :)


By Hoser McMoose on 4/9/2007 6:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
Best comparison for GM would be the 2000 Chevy Cavalier vs. 2007 Chevy Cobalt (which replaced the Cavalier a couple years ago).

2000 Chevrolet Cavalier 2.2 liters: [23/31]
2007 Chevrolet Cobalt 2.2 liters: [24/32]

Chrysler doesn't really have a good comparison though, or at least not among their North American offerings. Probably the best we could do is to compare the Dodge Neon to the Dodge Caliber, though those two cars are pretty different.

2000 Dodge Neon 2.0 Liter [25/31]
2007 Dodge Caliber 2.0 Liter CVT [26/30]

It's important to note that virtually all of the cars listed have gained size, weight and horsepower between 2000 and 2007. Taking the 2000 vs. 2007 Civic DX sedan we get:

Engine: 1.6l -> 1.8l
Horsepower: 106hp -> 140hp
Curb Weight: 2339 lbs -> 2690 lbs
Length: 175.1" -> 176.7"
Width: 67.1" -> 69"

Other cars in this comparison have beefed up similarly. I think the Focus changed the least in terms of size and engine power while the Neon -> Caliber was the biggest change (as mentioned above, they're only just barely comparable cars).

If these cars all stayed the same physical size and kept roughly the same engine output, it's almost certain that fuel economy would have gone up more.


By theapparition on 4/10/2007 6:11:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Japanese cars run at higher RPM to achieve faster speeds.

They run higher RPM to acheive the same speed.

EPA ratings are just that, a somewhat controlled test enviroment, that provides rating for consumers to judge and select vehicules. This in no way implies the fuel economy that YOU will get. Everyone recently saw that when hybrids took a nose-dive in economy.

Fact is, companies make cars for the market. Japanese manufacturers went small/efficient. Domestic went large/powerful, and European (sold in America), went luxury/price. The Japanese, only a few years ago, were losing market share, particuarly in the truck/SUV segment where they had almost no presence. Next thing, the Japanese manufacturers are making all the trucks/suv's that americans could want. Then comes the gas price increases and the market has shifted to that of smaller/efficient cars. Couple that with poor domestic reliability in the 80's, and the domestic manufacturer's have begun to lose ground. If gas prices dropped overnight to sub $1, you'd find that most of the market would start buying big again. This has nothing to do with the engineering in each automobile. If the Skyline was so perfectly engineered, why isn't it selling over here?

Large displacement doesn't necessarily equate to low economy. Features such as displacement on demand give consumers the best of both worlds by allowing power and economy modes.

It takes several years to refocus the target market in the automobile industry. The domestics have a setback, but will emerge fine in the long run.


new tundra not included!!!
By mjcutri on 4/9/2007 8:48:32 AM , Rating: 2
Don't miss the fact that these are based on 2005 vehicles, which doesn't include the new Toyota Tundra. Toyota's avg mpg will definitely drop from where they were two years ago. So much for improvement. A lot changes in the automotive industry from year to year, so using data that is two years old is not necessarily a good indicator of where things are going or where they are today.




RE: new tundra not included!!!
By mjcutri on 4/9/2007 8:53:59 AM , Rating: 2
oh yeah, and hybrids are necessarily the great savior that everyone thinks they are. what happens in 8-10 years after they are produced when all those batteries need to be replaced. that's an awful lot of bad stuff (depending on the tech: lead, mercury, and cadmium)that is going to end up in the landfills.


RE: new tundra not included!!!
By Wonga on 4/9/2007 10:31:21 AM , Rating: 4
Lead batteries are almost entirely recycled (back into new batteries most of the time). Very very little of it will end up in landfill (and even that will be illegally).


RE: new tundra not included!!!
By masher2 (blog) on 4/9/2007 11:07:43 AM , Rating: 5
Hybrids don't use lead batteries...NiMH is most commmon, though lithium is up and coming.


RE: new tundra not included!!!
By Wonga on 4/9/2007 11:10:27 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I didn't know for sure what they used. Either way, you can be pretty sure it will be recycled.


RE: new tundra not included!!!
By Kuroyama on 4/9/2007 11:25:14 AM , Rating: 2
Don't quote me on this, but I think the disposal is often contracted out to third world countries where we have no idea what actually happens. There was a National Geographic article on Egypt a while back that talked about how Europe's batteries sent there for recycling are often recycled (illegally) into lead pipes, and through a string of corruption end up in building water supplies. Hopefully this is the rare exception, but who knows.

Recycling toxic materials in countries with so much corruption is just asking for trouble, but the low bidder will often be in such a place exactly because they do not intend to do what they're supposed to do.


RE: new tundra not included!!!
By Kuroyama on 4/9/2007 11:33:59 AM , Rating: 2
I should add that the same will go for the recycled hybrid batteries when they start being junked. I don't know if the ingredients in NiMH batteries can be used for similarly bad "off-label" uses as with Lead Acid batteries, although I imagine that NiMH batteries are sufficiently costly that recycling back into a battery is more profitable than putting the materials into an illicit use like piping.


RE: new tundra not included!!!
By werepossum on 4/9/2007 8:16:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There was a National Geographic article on Egypt a while back that talked about how Europe's batteries sent there for recycling are often recycled (illegally) into lead pipes, and through a string of corruption end up in building water supplies.


So, Westerners send batteries to Egypt to be recycled, where they are refined and made into lead pipes which corrupt Egyptions then install in the water system, poisoning Egyptions who then become suicide bombers to kill Westerers. Some serious karma. Err, carma.


RE: new tundra not included!!!
By doctor sam adams on 4/9/2007 12:45:25 PM , Rating: 2
Most reports from both consumers and manufacturers indicate that the batteries have a lifespan far longer than 8-10 years. I think even today manufacturers of the first hybrid vehicles have reported few, if any, battery failures. This has been discussed before on DailyTech.


RE: new tundra not included!!!
By masher2 (blog) on 4/9/2007 1:50:33 PM , Rating: 2
> "Most reports from both consumers and manufacturers indicate that the batteries have a lifespan far longer than 8-10 years..."

True enough. However, I'd like to point out those are NiMH packs. The new breed of Li-ion based hybrids have a longer range, but a much shorter battery life.


RE: new tundra not included!!!
By RamboZZo on 4/9/2007 2:13:51 PM , Rating: 4
Yes and no. Lithium Ion tends to have a shorter lifespan than NiMH but thats been changing for a while. Li-Ion is still supposed to withstand many more recharge cycles within its lifespan than NiCD and NiMH which will eventually start deteriorating from recharging. It is claimed that a lot of the more modern implementations of Li-Ion batteries actually offer longer lifespans. Since they haven't been around as long these claims hard to verifiy. Nevertheless Li-Ion technology keeps steadily advancing and some of the newest implementations are long outlasting NiMH and NiCD several times over. Cost tends to be its biggest drawback. NiMH has pretty much reached the end of the road.

Enviromentally Li-Ion has one huge advantage and thats that its considered non-toxic. Its considered non-toxic waste by the federal government and safe for landfill disposal. Its still more profitable to recycle Li-Ion batteries so they should be recycled anyway. In the scale of battery toxicity lead is the worse followed by Cadmium, Nickel, and Lithium. Lithium-Ion contains none of those. Unlike Lithium (non rechargeable type) batteries which are quite toxic, lithium Ion actually contains no lithium in its pure elemental toxic form. Just compounds derived from it.


RE: new tundra not included!!!
By masher2 (blog) on 4/9/2007 2:21:35 PM , Rating: 3
> " Li-Ion is still supposed to withstand many more recharge cycles within its lifespan than NiCD and NiMH"

But a Li-Ion battery loses life whether its being charged or not, unlike NiMH. Put your car in the garage, and 30 months later, you've lost half your charge capacity...at least with current technology.

> "it's...more profitable to recycle Li-Ion batteries..."

I could be wrong, but I believe recycling Li-Ion batteries occurs at a net loss....which is why the only organizations in the US that will take them are a nonprofit organization, or companies trying to build their 'green' image.


RE: new tundra not included!!!
By czarchazm on 4/9/2007 3:38:24 PM , Rating: 2
I use Energizer NiMH AA batteries and their charge doesn't last past 2 weeks. Do you have any info on where I can buy the NiMH batteries you were speaking of?

Thanks!


By masher2 (blog) on 4/9/2007 3:47:13 PM , Rating: 2
Charge capacity ...not charge. And I was referring to Li-Ion batteries in any case, which lose almost 2% of their capacity every month, whether or not they're charged.


RE: new tundra not included!!!
By RamboZZo on 4/10/2007 12:21:12 AM , Rating: 2
He's refering to the maximum charge capacity, not the length it will hold a charge for. NiCD and NiMH batteries can loose up to 25% of their charge within the first 24 hours and anywhere from 1% to 5% every following day even if not in use. There's no way around that, its a limitation of the technology. Lithium Ion can hold close to its maximum capacity for about 18 months.

All batteries suffer from maximum capacity loss over time. NiCD and NiMH degrade over the years quite a lot as well and its non reversible. The same is true for Lithium Ion. The difference is the wear on Nickel based batteries greatly depends on how its used and charged, cycled and stored. Lithium Ion degrades at a rather steady pace. They actually degrade a lot worse when not in use. Something like 20% capacity loss per year. The effect is much reduced in a regularly used and cycled battery. If storing for extended periods of time a Lithium Ion battery should be stored at 40% charge in a cool place and never left to fully drain. The maximum capacity loss will be reduced to less than 2%-5% per year. That said a Lithium Ion battery that has degraded by 50% can still hold about as much or more charge than a fresh nickel battery. When you factor nickel battery wear Lithium Ion still comes on top. I would think in an application such as a vehicle a computer should easily be able to monitor the charge level of the battery and only charge it when optimal and store it, maybe even drain it when not is use to keep it at its peak storage level.

The thing with Lithium Ion is unlike Nickel batteries which are essntially the same family for all of their type, the term Lithium actually refers to a family of battery technologies with different chemistries with mostly just the word lithium in common. So not all the technologies suffer the same limitations. Most of the rules being discussed here actually pertain what is generally known about cobalt based Lithium Ion batteries. These are the most common and one of the oldest types. Its what powers small electronics such as cell phones and laptops. They have the highest energy density but are only suitable for slow deep discharges as what a cell phone would do. My guess is that a Hybrid vehicle would likely use Manganese based Li-Ion technology which is similar to what you'd find on a power tool Li-Ion battery. This chemistry has a lower energy density but can charge a LOT faster, as much as 80% charge in 5 minutes and are suitable for fast and high energy draw applications such as a car or power tool. This technology is claimed have a much higher cycle capacity than Nickel batteries, less damage from continuos cycling and longer overall lifespan. It still remains to be seen as that particular chemistry has only been around for about 2 years I think. Not long enough to verify the claims. There's also several other types of experimental with dramatic improvements. Its a technology that still offers a lot of possibility unlike older technologies which have been taken as far as they can go.

All things considered it is probably a lot less toxic to toss lots of dead Lithium Ion batteries in a landfill than a few Nickel metal hydride ones and definately than a couple of cadmium batteries. I don't really know about the cost of recycling Li-Ion but from what I've read it seems to still be profit in recycling them. They are afterall still very expensive to manufacture.


RE: new tundra not included!!!
By RamboZZo on 4/9/2007 1:29:19 PM , Rating: 2
Nickel Cadmium batteries are highly toxic and should always be recycled. Hybrids use MiMH technology which is a lot cleaner to dispose(but should still be recycled) and as costs go down Lithium Ion which is even less toxic than NiMH should start replacing it. Lithium Ion is considered clean enough to be disposed of in the trash in small quantities unlike NiCD which should ALWAYS be recycled due to the high toxicity of cadmium.


RE: new tundra not included!!!
By FITCamaro on 4/9/07, Rating: 0
Oil = Death
By bldckstark on 4/9/2007 1:13:26 PM , Rating: 1
While we are on the subject of gas milage, let me share something I read this weekend. It said that we are paying for both sides of the war in Iraq. We buy the oil which is refined into gas which funds the radical groups that are rebelling in Iraq, then we pay taxes to send our troops over there to die. Basically, we are paying people to kill our friends and family members.

We have to get over this dependence on middle east oil. Let them fight each other to the death and when they grow up we can be friends again. When we stop paying for their oil, they will become third world countries again and won't have the means to create the kind of terror they produce now.

I ain't never hugged no trees, but the train of thought provoked by that one statement (by a Republican at that!) has caused me to re-think a few things.

BTW I read it in an alternative fuel comparison in Motor Trend, this months issue.




RE: Oil = Death
By dever on 4/9/2007 1:49:18 PM , Rating: 2
Solutions to oil independence should include taking restrictions off of drilling here in the U.S.

Also, they may kill each other off to a small degree, but one thing they all agree on is that Americans must die first.


RE: Oil = Death
By GoatMonkey on 4/9/2007 2:54:11 PM , Rating: 2
Hell yeah.

The problem is that even if we don't buy it, they will sell it to someone else, such as China, Russia, or India. So, its not just a matter of removing American dependence on middle eastern oil, it has to be done for the entire world to be really effective. Removing American dependence is a good start though.


RE: Oil = Death
By masher2 (blog) on 4/9/2007 3:02:18 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't work quite like that...the price of oil is very inelastic, which means a small decrease in demand results in a large price drop. For instance, if the US cut its oil consumption in half overnight, that would result in a ~12.5% drop in world oil demand. But the resultant price would drop from $60/bbl to under $10/bbl....with an even larger drop in profits.


RE: Oil = Death
By GoatMonkey on 4/9/2007 3:49:55 PM , Rating: 1
It hurts them with just the U.S. out of their potential customers, but they will still be making enough money to buy some guns and bombs. It would probably eliminate the possibility of them getting nukes though.

Ideally, we need oil production to be shut down completely. Even then, they will still be selling drugs, and whatever else they can think of, to fund the terrorists.


RE: Oil = Death
By theapparition on 4/10/2007 6:16:01 PM , Rating: 2
Then OPEC would just cut production, to protect profits.


RE: Oil = Death
By masher2 (blog) on 4/10/2007 6:36:46 PM , Rating: 3
> "Then OPEC would just cut production, to protect profits. "

You can't cut production enough to prop up prices after a demand drop that large. Consider. OPEC produces 42% of world oil. To account for a 12.5% demand drop, OPEC would need to cut their own production by 30%. Since some costs are fixed, that would equate to about a 35% reduction in profits for OPEC members...whereas the rest of the oil-producing world would suffer not at all. OPEC members would never buy it...they'd agree to a much smaller cut, and prices would fall like a stone as each individual member tried to protect their own revenue stream.

Don't believe me? Look at past history. From 1982 to 1998, oil prices fell from $68/bbl to $12/bbl...for the very reasons I gave above. OPEC's price controls are really only effective when the majority of the spare pumping capacity in the world market is in their hands.


So what
By Shadowself on 4/9/2007 10:01:25 AM , Rating: 3
Back in the 70s Volkswagon sold a Rabbit in the U.S. that got over 50 mpg. I owned one and typically got over 50. It was a 4 door and could hold 4 adults (two comfortably in the front and two OK in the back or 3 children in the back).

Back in the 80s Honda shipped the CRX which did about 50 mpg. It could hold two adults comfortably in the front and two children in the back.

If they could do that then, why are we NOT seeing 60 and 70 mpg cars now? Until then I stick with what I have.




RE: So what
By lazyinjin on 4/9/2007 10:13:39 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
If they could do that then, why are we NOT seeing 60 and 70 mpg cars now? Until then I stick with what I have.


Americans are in love with bigger and faster cars. The Honda Accord of the 90's is smaller and less powerful than the Civic of today, and this is true among all the car manufacturers. our average car has ballooned in size, so we compensate with bigger engines. the two combine for poor fuel economy; fortunately, new engine tech keeps things a tab more balanced.

I have no doubt that if we had the small sized cars of 20 years ago and todays engine tech; We'd see reasonalby comfortable 40-50mpg, like i did with my 95 Escort in high-school.


RE: So what
By Noya on 4/9/2007 11:23:49 AM , Rating: 2
Our average car has balooned in size because so has the average American. I think Honda was one of the first Japanese companies to make specific versions of their cars just for our market, due to our ever increasing waistline. I think it was first the 98-02 Accord, and more recently the TSX is the Accord around the world while you know what we have as an 03+.


RE: So what
By masher2 (blog) on 4/9/2007 10:25:46 AM , Rating: 3
> "If they could do that then, why are we NOT seeing 60 and 70 mpg cars now?"

The consumer wanting larger, more comfortable and or powerful cars is certainly part of it. Still you have to remember that EPA and DOT requirements have both increased dramatically since the 1970s.

Take off the new emissions controls, the weight from additional safety requirements, and run the car on leaded, nonreformated gas without all the emission-limiting additives, and you'd gain at least 15% mileage, perhaps more.


RE: So what
By FITCamaro on 4/9/2007 12:34:57 PM , Rating: 1
Yes. All the safety equipment in cars today is quite hefty.


STOP LOOKING AT ONLY MPG!!!
By TheFro on 4/9/2007 2:27:58 PM , Rating: 4
This overall score is not just based on MPG averages, but also on the amount of pollutants put out by each automobile. Just cause an engine has a lot of power and displacement does not excuse it to be inefficient when it comes to power production and combustion.

Honda and Toyota both took initative to make vehicles that maximize engine effieiency, not in just MPG numbers but also in combustion/emmissions. I believe all of Honda's vehicles are at least LEV compliant if not ULEV and SULEV compliant; that includes all their SUVs. Most of Toyota's vehicles are the same. Both of these auto makers are also forerunners into hybrid technology (which is not a long term solution, but a step in the right direction nonetheless).

This is a far cry from the questionable tactics of the Big 3 such as: Using cryptic EPA guidelines to boost fleet MPG averages (The PT Cruiser is considered a truck because of it's flat loading trunk, which helps bring up their fleet EPA MPG average for trucks) or making vehicles heavy enough to avoid being calculated in their fleet EPA guidelines altogether (The Tahoe, Suburban, Expedition, Excursion, and many other of the Big 3's vehicles fall under the same EPA categories as buses and other heavy vehicles, exempting them from the EPA fleet guidelines for trucks).

I am not saying that the Big 3 are not making strides towards efficiency (cars that can run on E85, implementation of hybrid technology, research into fuel cell technology, etc) but they did not attack the issues of cleaner emmissions and efficiency head on and are now far behind their foreign counterparts, possibly too far to catch up.




RE: STOP LOOKING AT ONLY MPG!!!
By masher2 (blog) on 4/9/2007 2:48:16 PM , Rating: 1
> "Honda and Toyota both took initative to make vehicles that maximize engine effieiency,...in combustion/emmissions..."

And GM and Ford didn't? Todays cars emit about 1% of the NOX, CO, and particulates as they did in 1970. That's a tremendous breakthrough.

By the way, try breathing the air in one of any number of Asian nations which don't implement emissions requirements. It's nearly impossible...and the cars generating those emissions are made much by Toyota and Honda than Ford or GM.


RE: STOP LOOKING AT ONLY MPG!!!
By TheFro on 4/9/2007 7:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And GM and Ford didn't? Todays cars emit about 1% of the NOX, CO, and particulates as they did in 1970. That's a tremendous breakthrough.


Not to the extent of the Japanese automakers, no. Ford only recently switched to using OHC engines and GM still uses push-rod engine technology for almost all their cars. While GM will argue that push-rod engine technology is just as effective as OHC engines, you have to wonder why every other auto manufacturer has switched to OHC engines. I'll leave you to reference wikipedia to list the disadvantages of push-rod engine technology and see if the advantages make up for it. I certainly don't think they do.

quote:
By the way, try breathing the air in one of any number of Asian nations which don't implement emissions requirements. It's nearly impossible...and the cars generating those emissions are made much by Toyota and Honda than Ford or GM.


Actually, I have been to poor Asian countires where there are no emissions requirements. Many of those cars in use are from the 1970's and 80's. Many older, some younger. Like you said, tremendous breakthroughs since the 70's. Many of the emmission problems you see in these countries are due to the continued use of such older vehicles, (especially old diesel engines which seem to last forever :P) which are not kept properly tuned and maintained.

Only with recent economic development does one see a number late model automobiles in these countires, which carry over many of the enhancements you see in cars here. Remember, people in other countries are way more concerned about buying fuel efficient cars than people in the US, since gas is way more expensive in most other countries, so I don't see automakers selling less effieicnt models to other countries.

Besides, we are concerned with automakers selling cars in the US where we have emission standards. Stay on topic, masher.


RE: STOP LOOKING AT ONLY MPG!!!
By FITCamaro on 4/9/07, Rating: 0
great
By dome1234 on 4/9/2007 2:30:23 AM , Rating: 2
reminds me of a south park episode entitled smug alert (?) on hybrid cars. hahaha.




RE: great
By GhandiInstinct on 4/9/2007 8:29:47 AM , Rating: 2
Everything, reminds everyone, of South Park :)


By jub on 4/9/2007 7:44:10 PM , Rating: 2
It all comes down to the fact that the japanese (Honda and Toyota ) are on the lead.

American cars can be bigger and whatever, whatever...
European cars can have great design, and whatever, whatever...

But the japanese can do all that and still beat the competition in engine efficiency, pollutant emissions, cost production, overall construction quality, etc, etc, etc...

When in Europe, American and some European cars, are seen as medium, poor quality cars (don't know if the opposite also happens),
WORLDWIDE, a japanese car is a synonym for a quality car.

And they have cars for all classes/countries.
From the small/cheap cars (Toyota Yaris for example was considered the most reliable car in the world) to luxury cars, sport cars, you name it.

They are on the lead.

So when i see "Honda, Toyota Lead Latest Auto Environmental Performance Report", i'm not surprised.

They're thinking not only in the American market but on the worldwide market.
Environmental issues are being very discussed. Along will come taxes to the most polluent cars. And the volatility in oil prices gives them even more reasons to be in the lead of Environmental Performance.

They will very soon, collect the fruit's of their investments.
And the others... will try to keep up the pace.

I will say it again

They are on the lead.




By werepossum on 4/9/2007 8:44:47 PM , Rating: 2
I was shocked in 2005 when I went to replace my old '85 Nissan pickup (built in Tennesee, thank you.) Small trucks are now the size full-size trucks used to be - our 2004 Ranger Edge is taller and at least as wide as my grandfather's '75 Chevy. And I expected that mileage would be really good, since I got about 28-30 mpg with the Nissan when it was new. Wrong! With Ford at least, you can't get the Ranger extended cab without getting the V6, even though the 4-banger would have been fine for us. It's rated at 19/23, and we get about that (20/23). Same thing when I shopped for my vehicle in '93 - I wanted a small 4x4 convertible with good mileage. My '89 Chevy Tracker (Suzuki) was rated at 28/29 mpg (got 33 mpg), the Jeep Wrangler at 14/17 mpg. Same rough size, same rough weight. I bought a new Tracker in '97, 24/26 mpg (still got 28 to 33 mpg); Jeep (now heavier) still 14/17. And I just bought a 2003 Tracker at 23/25 mpg (getting 24 to 26 mpg; latest model for the convertible, unfortunately), and the Wrangler (even heavier!) is still 16/19 (18/20 for the 2003 model.) Unfortunately Suzuki put in a larger base engine, which is fun but the mileage took a hit. And I do realize that a Wrangler is bigger now than my Tracker and is a better off-road vehicle, but the Tracker is big enough for us, tows enough for us, and is good enough off-road for us. BTW, the Wrangler now weighs 3760 lbs (been getting heavier) while the Tracker now weighs 2550 (been getting lighter.) In '89 they weighed close to the same.

Bottom line, we really wanted to buy American, and I'd love to have a Jeep - but not at 16/19 mpg. I'll pay the premium, but I don't think I can responsibly buy a small 4-seater that gets such bad mileage.


Bashing American quality
By GoatMonkey on 4/9/2007 2:33:41 PM , Rating: 2
What's the deal with anything relating to cars? It always comes down to American cars suck.

Has anyone seen the recent long term reliability ratings? Cadillac, Lincoln, and Buick are all rated very high now. There needs to be some credit given where it is due.




By BaliBabyDoc on 4/9/2007 4:51:11 PM , Rating: 2
I think some of you are missing the boat. Honda is a ridiculously good ENGINE company. They aren't exactly 2nd tier when it comes to transmissions, either . . . well except for that 02 TL. :P

The point is that you can buy a Honda Civic in a myriad of flavors:
1) 197hp . . . or significantly less than 197hp
2) 40+ mpg hybrid
3) 40+ mpg gas
4) 50+ mpg diesel (not in America though)
5) automatic, manual, CVT
6) gasoline, CNG, gas-electric, diesel (not in America)

But all of those are 4-bangers (except maybe the hybrid) that are near the top or lead their category for emissions. Honda knows how to make small displacement engines. Few companies can match Honda for its mix of power AND efficiency from 1.6 - 3.7L displacement. American companies can't make money on small cars (or often even midsize) so it's no surprise they've invested few resources in making engines for them.

Curiously, GM and Ford have interesting products abroad (diesel and gasoline) but IMHO they refuse to bring them over for fear they would reduce margins without stealing enough sales from imports to be worthwhile.




By AlexWade on 4/10/2007 8:39:15 AM , Rating: 2
I have a Nissan 350Z. Under the old EPA rules, I get 28 MPG at 55 MPH on a level road with no AC. In testing, I get 28 MPG at 75 MPH with the AC running. Not bad for a sports car. How do I do it?

To improve my MPG, I put some Acetone in the tank. You can find acetone at any home improvement store's paint section. Around 3 oz of acetone per 10 gallons of gas is what you need. Too much can have a negative effect.

I also replaced my air filter with a permanent one. That improves MPG slightly, but improves it nonetheless.

There are other tricks too. Check your tire pressure monthly. Don't buy an octane less than the manufacturer says. At high speeds (40+ MPH) use the AC. At a long light (1.5+ minutes), turn off your engine. Little stuff like that adds up in a big way.




Junk cars,American cars.
By andrinoaa on 4/11/2007 3:51:01 PM , Rating: 2
What a lot of hot air. Only one thing will bring americans around to seeing the world as it is, higher petrol prices.
All this other talk of my engine is better than yours is silly really. We all know the score but some of us don't want to know! As for unions costing cars more,this is really stupid talk. Maybe these people will work for nothing then cars will cost nothing. LOL.
Lastly, Americans are not all stupid, hence GM, Ford and Chrysler are losing market share. As you become more affluent, you want better quality, what ever you perceive that to be.
As for another silly comment, that you need a bigger car to travel in America, why not just cut the crappy middle road and go full bore - I want a KENWORTH prime mover, then I will be safe. LOL LOL LOL




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