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Old 07-23-2008, 08:02 PM   #11 (permalink)
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US buyers, besotted with inexpensive fuel, demonstrated in no uncertain terms to GM, Ford and Honda et al that they had scant interest in fuel efficiency leading into the mid-1990's:

Mathew Wald's 1995 New York Times article, Economy Champs Get the Cold Shoulder:

Quote:
Matthew Wald
The New York Times
Economy Champs Get the Cold Shoulder
November 12, 1995

For years, the people who lobby against tougher fuel economy rules have argued that not many American buyers want the highest-mileage cars. The 10 most fuel-efficient models, they pointed out, account for less than 2 percent of sales. But now, they say, that argument is outdated; in the '95 model year, it was less than 1 percent.

The decline was modest, to nine-tenths of a percent in the 1995 model year from 1.26 percent in 1994. In actual numbers, the slippage was smaller, because the number of cars sold rose last year to 8.2 million, from 6.1 million the year before. But the lobbyists have a point; at the extreme high end of the fuel economy scale, as in the car market as a whole, gas mileage is clearly not as important as it used to be.

Honda, for example, has dropped the model that won the 1995 fuel economy derby, the Civic VX hatchback, at 47 miles to the gallon in the city, 56 on the highway. Hatchbacks don't sell well these days and consumers want more muscle under the hood, a spokesman, Jeffrey Smith, said. The replacement is the Civic HX coupe with a 1.6-liter VTEC-E engine and 115 horsepower, up from 1.5 liters and 70 horses.
The difference: a mileage rating of 39 city/45 highway, compared with 47 city/56 highway for the model it replaces. The car now comes with some comforts formerly associated with a guzzler: dual air bags, power steering, dual power mirrors, power windows, power locks and "a host of other convenience features," the company says.

General Motors dropped its highest-mileage model, the Geo Metro XFi, a 3-cylinder, 1-liter model, after the 1994 model year. Despite a redesign, sales of other Metros were off a bit in the '95 model year, to 100,092 from 108,000 for '94, but a company spokesman said it could be because potential buyers at the lowest rungs of the new-car market went for used cars instead, or for other reasons. "We could talk all day about how to account for a sales increase or decrease," said Daniel R. Hubbert, the spokesman. "It's kind of like polling the O.J. jury."

But he did identify one reason: consumers of the smallest cars are doing what buyers of bigger vehicles do. "People who previously bought a small car, or wanted a car with great gas mileage, are now going for small trucks," Mr. Hubbert said. They like being able to haul big things, he said, and they like sitting higher above the road.

Switching from the '95 Geo Metro, with the 1-liter 3-cylinder engine and a 5-speed manual transmission, to the Chevrolet S-10 pickup, with a 2.2-liter 4-cyclinder and a 5-speed, meant a mileage drop to 23 m.p.g. city/29 highway, from 44 city/49 highway. Jumping to the Geo Tracker convertible, the company's most fuel-efficient sport-utlity, with a 1.6-liter engine and a five-speed manual transmission, meant moving to 25 m.p.g. city/27 highway.

Moving from a car to a sport-utility vehicle or a truck means losing fuel economy for several reasons. One, vehicle weight, is obvious, but another is less advanced technology. In 1994, 70 percent of new cars had multi-point fuel injection, compared with only 3 percent of light trucks and vans, according to John DeCicco of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

And truck and van economy is going nowhere, literally. House and Senate conferees recently agreed to freeze mileage standards for light pickups, vans and sport utility vehicles for one year.

Mileage seems to be a lagging interest everywhere. At Ford, sales of the Aspire, the sixth-highest-mileage car in the 1996 rankings, are strong. But Ford's customer surveys show that economy now ranks 16th out of 19 reasons for choosing a particular car.


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Old 07-23-2008, 08:14 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Unfortunately EPA and CARB exhaust emissions are measured in parts per million at the exhaust port, not in milligrams emitted per vehicle mile traveled. That's why Aptera wasn't able to get a small diesel motor certified in CA, since they couldn't find one that had a low enough ppm at the exhaust. But Ford had no problems certifying its powerstroke diesel pickup trucks in CA. Guess which vehicle would be spitting out more pollutants per mile traveled down the road. Its a case of penny wise and pound foolish.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akcapeco View Post
US buyers, besotted with inexpensive fuel, demonstrated in no uncertain terms to GM, Ford and Honda et al that they had scant interest in fuel efficiency leading into the mid-1990's:
So I guess what that article means is that we are in the upper 1% of car buyers the "smart ones" I am beginning to hate how people drive. I wish everyone was trying to hypermile. Then maybe we all could have 70 mpg cars.
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Originally Posted by basjoos View Post
Unfortunately EPA and CARB exhaust emissions are measured in parts per million at the exhaust port, not in milligrams emitted per vehicle mile traveled. That's why Aptera wasn't able to get a small diesel motor certified in CA, since they couldn't find one that had a low enough ppm at the exhaust. But Ford had no problems certifying its powerstroke diesel pickup trucks in CA. Guess which vehicle would be spitting out more pollutants per mile traveled down the road. Its a case of penny wise and pound foolish.
Perfectly put Basjoos, part per mile not ppmillion is how they should test.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:42 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I agree partial. Today's big car dominated market is driven by consumer. People want to have bigger vehicle for safety and comfort. For me, I always drive Civic, now xB. I never consider Metro because Civic has better handling, better acceleration and more safety feeling. I drove Ford Festiva (1.3L, 3speed trans) before. That is a scary experience. The windows was shaken on freeway speed even closed tightly. The engine roared so loud on 65mph. With 5 people, I couldn't stop my car on downhill. My civic was much quieter, both engine, vibration and wind noise. The car was much more stable on freeway. The brake stops the car much shorter and secured. What I believe is when a consumer buy a car, they consider much more than fuel consumption. Reliability, Price, Fuel consumption, handling, safety, resell price, usability, even style and color. Insight didn't sell good because I can buy a Prius, which sits 5 people instead of 2, with not much $$ more. And, many families have more than 2 people! Within the choice of 2 similar car, more Americans will choose a car with cheaper operation cost. That is why 4 cylinder Camry outsell V6.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:45 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbjsw10 View Post
So I guess what that article means is that we are in the upper 1% of car buyers the "smart ones" I am beginning to hate how people drive. I wish everyone was trying to hypermile. Then maybe we all could have 70 mpg cars.

Perfectly put Basjoos, part per mile not ppmillion is how they should test.
If everyone hypermiles the automaker won't make any efficient car.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:08 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by xbUser View Post
If everyone hypermiles the automaker won't make any efficient car.
Guess you are right on that. I just wish we had more choices than a 30-40k hybrid, I will just stick with my 17 yr. old Metro for now.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:35 PM   #17 (permalink)
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As other guys pointed outÖsafety regs (ultimately weight and safety are related), US emissions standards kill diesels (Tier II PM2.5 spec are far more stringent than Euro 5), and culture. People in the US want multi-purpose vehicles because it may be the only one they have, so they buy the one that does everything they need it to do and operate sub-optimally in other situations. Hence the people-hauler being used for commuting. Once thing that trucks, minivans, and SUVs have sold people on is the upright seating position. It is far more comfortable than a reclined seating position. Taller cars do not require a lot of gymnastics to get in and out of. That is important to an old coot like me. Taller cars with an upright seating position tend to have bigger frontal area, hence lower FE.

Another huge people consideration: Small, low, slow cars make people feel more vulnerable than big olí SUVs with a 7 second 0-60 time. Women in particular, donít like feeling vulnerable while they drive, so if you want an earful just try to sell a Yaris to a woman.


xbUser posted:

ďIs it hard for the automaker to do some modification and sell here?Ē

Dave says:

Harder than you think.

Keep in mind that fifty cars must be sacrificed to crash tests. One car fails and the whole thing is rejected. Likewise a number of them must be tested for compliance to environmental regs. Maybe they pass the tests, but time is lost while the EPA contractors grudgingly performs the tests. Maybe they donít pass the tests, in which case they cannot be sold in the US.
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:27 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post
Dave says:

Harder than you think.

Keep in mind that fifty cars must be sacrificed to crash tests. One car fails and the whole thing is rejected. Likewise a number of them must be tested for compliance to environmental regs. Maybe they pass the tests, but time is lost while the EPA contractors grudgingly performs the tests. Maybe they donít pass the tests, in which case they cannot be sold in the US.
All American car need to do the same thing, too. I don't see that will cost more, and all extra cost reflects on the price anyway. Honda and Toyota can sell many models in both US and Europe. I don't see why our Big 3 can't.
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Old 07-23-2008, 11:15 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I was thinkin on this emissions part why couldn't they just use a longer cat to trap/burn off more. It could lower it enough to pass without totally killing FE, right or wrong. I am no expert but there must be an easy way. Like this 09 Fiesta for instance the safety is apparently there if the gas is coming here, so the diesel should pass on safety as well. I just think they don't care. I would love the fact of a US built and US owned company selling a car in the US.
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Old 07-24-2008, 04:11 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I don't have to pass an emissions test where I live... so would it be possible to import one of these cars and have it registered in my home state? Hell, even if I did have to pass an emissions test, I have family members who would give my car a clean bill of health and give it an inspection sticker anyway.

Or, is it impossible to get these in on the federal level regardless of state laws?

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