Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What It Means To Be "Fuel Efficient"

The "Cash for Clunkers" program has become a sensation amongst those who are either spending too much on petrol or are concerned about the environment. People all over the country have swapped their BMWs, Mercedes, Fords, Cadillacs, Jeeps, and Hummers for Kias, Toyotas, Smarts, and Nissans. The problem with this is that it is not a direct swap. People who paid a large sum of money for their BMWs, Cadillacs, and Mercs are now trading them in for only $4 to 5 K off a new, less expensive vehicle. For those who own such cars, I doubt paying for a new, less expensive vehicle is a problem. Unfortunately, many lower middle class workers are trading in their vehicles because petrol is too volatile for their wallets. As a result of this new purchase, they are now in debt. These are the people who do not benefit from the "Cash for Clunkers" program.
Unfortunately, fully electric vehicles, which are becoming more and more efficient, are still much too expensive for the average consumer. Hybrids seem to be the only fuel efficient options on the market. The Ford Focus is the most fuel efficient non-hybrid vehicle in America. But even with the somewhat affordable hybrid technology, one can only reach a maximum of 48mpg.
There is an affordable option: foreign cars. No, no, I don't mean foreign MADE cars. I am talking about US AND foreign made cars that were made for the European, Japanese, and Indian markets. After seeing this statement you are probably thinking, "This would be much too expensive to implement for the lower middle class. People would have to ship the vehicles here." Well, that is not what I am suggesting.
I am suggesting that Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Mercedes, Toyota, and every other car manufacturer build cars in the US to the EU's fuel standards. "But won't that mean that our SAFETY standards will be jeopardized?" NO! Even though we sell F150s and Hummers, both the EU and US have large container trucks; therefore, cars must be able to withstand an impact from these trucks. Also, roads in some EU countries are far more narrow than ours. If the cars were not safe, then they would not be allowed on European roads. The gap between US and EU fuel economy is staggering! Here are just a few examples (Warning: this will make you sick!):

US Model w/ US MPG:
Yaris, 1.5L, 32MPG;
Land Cruiser, v8, 15MPG;
Smart, 36MPG;
Insight, 1.3L, 41MPG;
Prius, 46MPG.

UK Model w/ US MPG:
Yaris, 1.0L, 47.09MPG;
Yaris, 1.3L, 46.16MPG;
Yaris, 1.4L, Diesel, 57.42MPG;
Land Cruiser, 25.58MPG;
Land Cruiser, v8, 23.08MPG;
Smart Diesel, 71.33MPG;
Insight, 1.3L, 53.50MPG;
Prius, 60.36MPG.

I think these figures say it all. For those of you who do not believe me, look it up for yourself.
Here are my sources:
http://www.fueleconomy.gov (Search all)
http://www.toyota.co.uk (Search: Land Cruiser, Prius, Yaris)
http://www.honda.co.uk (Search: Insight)


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