Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Comparing Obesity to Fuel Consumption...

One of my friends forwarded this quote to me:

"Robert A. Lutz, GM's vice chairman, often likens fuel regulations to tackling the nation's problem with obesity by forcing clothing manufacturers to produce smaller sizes."

The correct response to this is: What if the nation were take steps not to be obese in the first place. EPA analysis of vehicle characteristics over the period 1981-2003 indicate that if the new 2003 light-duty vehicle fleet had the same average performance and same distribution of weight as in 1981, it could have achieved about 33 percent higher fuel economy. Similarly,
... had the new 2004 light-duty vehicle fleet had the same distribution of
performance and the same distribution of weight as in 1987, it could have achieved about 20 percent higher fuel economy.

The fascination for ever bigger, heavier, faster and more powerful vehicles has got to stop somewhere. Clearly, Bob Lutz and GM are not going to make that happen. It is what economists like to call a market failure. Some actually argue that it is more than than: It is a failed market!


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