FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Quest for the Fuel Efficient Car

Once again the Congressional toadies for the auto industry have beaten back efforts by legislators such as Democrat, Senator John Kerry and Republican John McCain to gradually increase fuel efficiency standards from the abysmally wasteful levels now inflicted on your pocketbook. Instead of choosing the path of reduced pollution, consumer savings, efficiency of engines and less reliance on imported oil, these indentured lawmakers turned their back on automotive engineers who know how to do the job but are not allowed by their bosses.

The Sierra Club has decided to stop spinning its wheels on Capitol Hill and go directly to the people. In surveys of likely voters in Missouri and South Dakota, 79 percent of the people wanted the auto industry to be required to increase fuel efficiency and that included light truck owners. The voters do not buy the auto company propaganda that more fuel efficient vehicles means less safety. Sixty percent of these voters say they would pay more for a higher mileage vehicle in return for its much larger dollar savings.

Long time car owners know that fuel efficiency overall is no better than what vehicles did in 1980! They are wary of the sudden spikes in gasoline prices. They also know that the companies spend lots of money on engine hyper-performance rather than on engine hyper-efficiency. Despite massive advertising by the auto companies to the contrary, they do not believe them.

Bolstered by public opinion, the Sierra Club announced a three year campaign to pressure automakers to improve fuel economy. Executive Director, Carl Pope, said “The technology exists today to allow the automakers to continue offering their most popular models, but with significantly improved fuel economy. These new safe, fuel-saving SUVs and pickups could be on the shelf very soon.”

The Sierra Club is publicizing a “Freedom Option Package”, which is a set of fuel-saving components that could be added to most standard models and that, taken together, could put the fleets of the Big Three on the road to 40 miles per gallon.

Dan Becker, the Club’s Clean Energy director says that “Detroit wants to sell option packages featuring seat warmers and cup holders” instead. He is mobilizing the Club’s 700,000 members across the country to hold events at local auto dealers. Becker has enlisted a prominent Chevrolet dealer, Chuck Frank in support of this initiative.

The Sierra Club, once enthralled by Bill Ford’s environmental statements and assurances of major increases in Ford’s SUV’s is now so disappointed with his company’s joining the other auto giants to lobby against fuel-efficiency laws that it has singled him and Ford Motor Company for special pressure by motorists.

Soon to come (September 17th) is the most jolting book against the auto company executives since Unsafe at Any Speed came out in 1965. I am referring to New York Times reporter, Keith Bradsher’s devastating expose of the SUVs which he calls the world’s most dangerous vehicles and how they got that way. Titled The High and Mighty, this book explains how the auto industry’s grip on Congress got these SUVs (hoked-up, over-priced light truck) exempted form safety, fuel efficiency and pollution requirements that were imposed on automobiles. That was accomplished when these vehicles were a small percentage of overall sales. Now they are a large part of sales; they kill their occupants in roll overs three times the rate of cars; areuniquely dangerous to other motorists and will become more serious when drunks, teenagers, typically the worst drivers on the road, start buying the older used SUVs, Bradsher says.

With an impressive attention to detail and special documentation, Bradsher reports on the enormous advertising money ($10 billion spent since 1990) to deceive their customers and persuade Americans to switch from cars to the very profitable SUVs. While, he declares, “Gas-guzzling SUVs emit one-third more global-warming gases per mile than cars, and up to 5.5 times as much smog-causing nitrogen oxides per mile.”

If the media grasps the importance of this book, September will be a hot month for the high and mighty in Detroit’s executive suites. And long overdue.

 

More articles by:

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

April 25, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Selective Outrage
Dan Kovalik
The Empire Turns Its Sights on Nicaragua – Again!
Joseph Essertier
The Abductees of Japan and Korea
Ramzy Baroud
The Ghost of Herut: Einstein on Israel, 70 Years Ago
W. T. Whitney
Imprisoned FARC Leader Faces Extradition: Still No Peace in Colombia
Manuel E. Yepe
Washington’s Attack on Syria Was a Mockery of the World
John White
My Silent Pain for Toronto and the World
Mel Gurtov
Will Abe Shinzo “Make Japan Great Again”?
Dean Baker
Bad Projections: the Federal Reserve, the IMF and Unemployment
David Schultz
Why Donald Trump Should Not be Allowed to Pardon Michael Cohen, His Friends, or Family Members
Mel Gurtov
Will Abe Shinzo “Make Japan Great Again”?
Binoy Kampmark
Enoch Powell: Blood Speeches and Anniversaries
Frank Scott
Weapons and Walls
April 24, 2018
Carl Boggs
Russia and the War Party
William A. Cohn
Carnage Unleashed: the Pentagon and the AUMF
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
The Racist Culture of Canadian Hockey
María Julia Bertomeu
On Angers, Disgusts and Nauseas
Nick Pemberton
How To Buy A Seat In Congress 101
Ron Jacobs
Resisting the Military-Now More Than Ever
Paul Bentley
A Velvet Revolution Turns Bloody? Ten Dead in Toronto
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Left, Syria and Fake News
Manuel E. Yepe
The Confirmation of Democracy in Cuba
Peter Montgomery
Christian Nationalism: Good for Politicians, Bad for America and the World
Ted Rall
Bad Drones
Jill Richardson
The Latest Attack on Food Stamps
Andrew Stewart
What Kind of Unionism is This?
Ellen Brown
Fox in the Hen House: Why Interest Rates Are Rising
April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
Ted Rall
Stop Letting Trump Distract You From Your Wants and Needs
Steve Klinger
The Cautionary Tale of Donald J. Trump
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Conflict Over the Future of the Planet
Cesar Chelala
Gideon Levy: A Voice of Sanity from Israel
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail