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! 

July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail