Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bigger, Faster and Less Economical?

In the last month's chart, I noted the propensity of the American consumers to drive bigger, heavier, faster and more powerful vehicles. The charts there were derived from informations published by EPA. The same charts find their way in to today's New York Times, as Danny Hakim reports that this years publication of the fuel economy trends reports have been held back so that an energy bill that does nothing to reduce light-duty vehicle fuel use can be passed in the congress.
The E.P.A. report illustrates what has happened as the industry has poured resources into S.U.V.'s, minivans and family-oriented pickup trucks, vehicle types with less stringent fuel economy requirements than cars. The average new vehicle weight has risen to about 4,000 pounds today, from about 3,200 in the early 1980's. At the same time, the horsepower of an average engine has roughly doubled over two decades, trimming four seconds from the time it takes for the average vehicle to accelerate from zero to 60.
If you read the article, you will see environmental advocates crying out against the administration and auto companies, but not saying anything about the consumers who make a choice to buy less fuel economical vehicles day in and day out so that they can speed from one traffic light to the next one in less than seven seconds.
It's disturbing that despite high gas prices, an oil war and growing concern about global warming pollution, most automakers are failing to improve fuel economy.

I don't mean to be disparaging, but I am tired of arguments which ask only the auto companies to shoulder the responsibility alone. Isn't oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions everybody's problem? Shouldn't American people be required to act along with Auto and oil companies as well? As I have noted several times before here, the obsession with the CAFE standards is not the smartest way to move forward; but we want our living rooms on wheels, who cares about oil?


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