Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Two pieces for Automotive News

May require subscription:

* Industry opposes possible gas-guzzler fee in Canada

The government is considering a "feebate" program, under which it would add a fee to the price of vehicles with poorer mileage and give money to consumers who buy gasoline sippers.

Feebates "don't work," Huw Williams, chief lobbyist for the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association told Automotive News. Incentives to scrap the 2 million pre-1987 vehicles still on the road would be much more effective in cutting emissions, he says.

What Canada is thinking about is a feebate program. I think that it will be a great idea if Canada can make it work.

* Lighter vehicles are not unsafe

"In the last 40 years," Hall said, "auto racing speeds have increased, yet deaths have decreased significantly while the weights of the vehicles have gone down progressively. Why? Crushable fronts that absorb impact, 'tubs' that shelter drivers after the entire car has disintegrated, a relocation of the front axle and, yes, crash bags. In this case, lighter is markedly safer."
...If the automakers could be forced to create unsafe light vehicles, would they be stupid enough to do it? Would their defense in a class-action suit be that "CAFE made me do it"?

There has been a recurring contention that heavier vehicles are safer. But even the experts disagree on that point. The more important question is whether lighter-weight vehicles can be made to be as safe as heavier ones. The evidence suggests they can be.


Monday, October 10, 2005

Summarizing the Oil debate

Robert Feldman of Morgan Stanley GEF takes a shot at explaining that the oil debate may be converging towards the following:
Develop fossil fuels, research alternative energies, push conservation.
I think that this is a good summary. If I were to prioritize, I would place conservation on the top of my list, followed by developing liquid fuels (not necessarily just fossile, could be biomass), and yes not ignore the long term and invest in technology development for the future.

Disclaimer: All opinions are personal and in no way affiliated to any other person, group or an institution.

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