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Transportation United States Technology

The End of the Gas Guzzler 897

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-overestimate-us dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Michael Grunwald reports that President Obama will announce today a near-doubling of fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, and the Big Three automakers — GM, Ford and Chrysler — will support it in a final deal that will require vehicle fleets to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, which will reduce fuel consumption by 40% and carbon emissions by 50%. Although environmentalists had pushed for 60 mpg and the White House had floated a compromise of 56.2, 54.5 is pretty close, considering that last year's standards were only 28.3. 'I might point out that the same auto industry that ran attack ads about how 56.2 would destroy their businesses and force everyone to drive electric cars has embraced 54.5 as an achievable target,' writes Grunwald. 'It almost makes you wonder if the automakers may have exaggerated the costs of compliance, the way they always do.'"
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The End of the Gas Guzzler

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  • by morari (1080535)

    It almost makes you wonder if the automakers may have exaggerated the costs of compliance, the way they always do.

    I mean really. Was there ever anyone who actually thought that 25mpg was really the best a small sedan could muster?

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      its the same reason the failed in the first place, totally out of touch and out of their mind

      • Re:Duh. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Joce640k (829181) on Friday July 29, 2011 @01:36PM (#36924010) Homepage

        It's the reason this will fail too.

        EVERY automaker boss is thinking this right now: "54.5 is only the required average. That means I can still make gas guzzlers so long as there's some shitty little cars somewhere in the books that can do 100mpg. "

        • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by myth24601 (893486) on Friday July 29, 2011 @04:06PM (#36926300)

          It's the reason this will fail too.

          EVERY automaker boss is thinking this right now: "54.5 is only the required average. That means I can still make gas guzzlers so long as there's some shitty little cars somewhere in the books that can do 100mpg. "

          No, every automaker boss in thinking, "this is more than 10 years from now, I will be retired with a golden parachute long before we even worry about this."

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by i kan reed (749298)

      Yes, I've met those people. The way I understand it, the easiest way to get that level of efficiency is to make cars out of carbon fiber instead of metal. The problem currently holding such a proposal back is that there aren't any mass-manufacturing technologies for fiber parts, like there is metal. There's no fast-and-easy smelt, mold, weld way to make pieces and stick them together. We'll see how that goes.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Aluminum would beg to differ. It also does not rust.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Aluminum has been used in the past on some vehicles [wikipedia.org] but will increase the cost of the vehicle due to the increased material cost. Additionally aluminum is widely used in engine blocks with steel piston sleeves especially on higher performance vehicles as a weight saving measure, this also better balances the vehicle.
        • by Lumpy (12016)

          Honda insight first edition was aluminum and dented if you looked at it funny.

      • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Friday July 29, 2011 @12:34PM (#36922818)
        Uhm, techniques like resin transfer molding using pre-laid or pre-woven fiber structures are scaling well lately - from what I hear out of the business, several German car makers are scaling it for mass production right now. They've been researching the topic like mad in the last couple of years.
        • Again, leaving Detroit in the dust. Innovation has always been the key to success... when did we get so tired of it?
          • Again, leaving Detroit in the dust. Innovation has always been the key to success... when did we get so tired of it?

            When they figured out that bribes to politicians were cheaper than innovation? Just a guess.
          • When they were too big to fail
          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            When we as a culture decided we'd rather focus our lives on trying to become sports stars, American Idols, or Hollywood stars rather than go into challenging technical careers.

            It didn't help that the corporations took advantage of those who did go into technical careers with never-ending "crunch times", salary compression, unpaid overtime, etc.

      • by Guspaz (556486)

        I seem to remember some mass market minivan that had a fibreglass body... It's not an insurmountable problem.

        Yes, they'll need to spend money to do it, but how is that different from any other R&D to advance your product? There are also other ways to improve efficiency, although they may not necessarily be cheaper. Hybrids, for example. There are also different kinds of hybrids. I believe some pickup truck models were using mechanical storage to recover energy from breaking or going downhill to improve

      • by jimicus (737525)

        Or you stop considering 2.6 litre engines to be the smallest anyone should put up with.

        My car's got a 1.8 litre engine and by UK standards, that's pretty big. The average is more like 1.6; 1.3 and 1.0 engines are commonplace.

    • I mean really. Was there ever anyone who actually thought that 25mpg was really the best a small sedan could muster?

      No, probably not. But this isn't a mandate for small sedans to get 50+ MPG; it's a mandate for the vehicle fleet to have an average MPG of 50+ MPG. Depending on how "vehicle fleet" is defined, that could be more challenging. IIRC there's a specific exemption for pickup trucks, I don't know about SUVs.

    • Re:Duh. (Score:4, Funny)

      by Narnie (1349029) on Friday July 29, 2011 @12:27PM (#36922674)

      More importantly, look at the deadline: 2025. Plenty of time to repeal or reduce the fleet average to a more approachable target, like 24mpg.

    • New 300 HP luxury sedans are getting 29 MPG now. 54 MPG in 10 years should not be that hard.

      The thing to realize is that going from 10 MPG to 20 MPG saves twice as much as going from 20 to 40.

       

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        The thing to realize is that going from 10 MPG to 20 MPG saves twice as much as going from 20 to 40.

        That's a good point - it's better in general to use the inverse measure. It is blatantly obvious that going from 10 gallon/100miles to 5 gallon/100miles saves twice as much as going from 5 gallon/100miles to 2.5 gallon/100miles. In the first case the difference is 5 gallons and in the second it is 2.5 gallons - any fool can see it. This is the way they compare in Europe, and unlike pointless discussions about the metric system I think it is a much better standard for general use.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by NatasRevol (731260)

        Hell, 20 years ago, a 1983 VW rabbit could get 54 mpg.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      It almost makes you wonder if the automakers may have exaggerated the costs of compliance, the way they always do.

      I mean really. Was there ever anyone who actually thought that 25mpg was really the best a small sedan could muster?

      In 1978, the American roads were filled with a little car, that did 50 EMPG. The Datsun B-210.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datsun_B210#B210_series [wikipedia.org]

      In 1984, I rode in the back of one with three other passengers, knees-under chin. We went 425 miles to San Francisco, well under a single-tank. Our actual MPG was better than 55, with all that load.

    • by alta (1263)

      require vehicle fleets to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025

      The key words here are FLEET and AVERAGE. None of the car companies are saying they have a problem with 25mpg on a 4cyl econocrap. What they are having a problem with is having a F150, F250 and F350 also average in to that FLEET with that 35mpg focus, and still keep the average up. Sure, not everyone needs and SUV, but many business do need an F250 to pull some heavy equipment.

      And companies like nissan have proven you don't have to get 12mpg

    • by gfxguy (98788)

      Of course not... when my '93 Civic sedan manual was getting an average of over 35MPG (combined), what it makes you wonder is why it takes a hybrid to get that mileage now.

  • Chevy Volts will GM have to sell per Suburban to remain within the new CAFE standard?

    • by plopez (54068)

      too bad they killed the EV-1

      • by kenh (9056)

        And their hydrogen-fueled cars...

        • Re:How many... (Score:5, Informative)

          by plopez (54068) on Friday July 29, 2011 @12:40PM (#36922942) Journal

          The "Hydrogen Economy" is a scam. The cheapest way to make hydrogen is via hydrocarbon fractionation. Both green houses gasses will not be affected or reliance on fossil fuels.

  • Here's an idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Friday July 29, 2011 @12:24PM (#36922624)

    Maybe you could, you know, let people buy the vehicles they want to buy and then if gas is expensive most won't buy gas guzzlers?

    In this case I'm guessing the auto makers are salivating at the prospect of being 'forced' to load up cars with hybrid crap that will allow them to push up prices and make more profit.

    • by timeOday (582209)

      Maybe you could, you know, let people buy the vehicles they want to buy and then if gas is expensive most won't buy gas guzzlers?

      Gasoline is a limited natural resource, so people who use a lot drive up the price for everybody else. This efficiency standard will do far more to relieve gas prices than drilling in ANWR ever would.

      • ... and so people will continue to use the hell out of it. If you want people to do less of something, tax it. Those who have no reasonable substitute will continue to pay for it, and those who can substitute will do so. This kind of meddling is far worse than just raising gas taxes.
    • Re:Here's an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by plopez (54068) on Friday July 29, 2011 @12:35PM (#36922842) Journal

      except that the change is not quick. If suddenly the price of gas jumps it may be months or years before a person can afford to buy a better car. Not to mention the time it takes for the car companies to tool up to meet demand for fuel efficient cars. Buying a car is not like buying laundry detergent. You just can't switch over to a new car rapidly enough to adapt to rapid changes in the price of fuel.

        Yet another situation where the failures of market economics is laid bare. This is a situation where only government has the ability to do the correct thing for the public good.

      • Gosh, because we've never phased taxes in before. Who could imagine such a thing?
      • except that the change is not quick. If suddenly the price of gas jumps it may be months or years before a person can afford to buy a better car. Not to mention the time it takes for the car companies to tool up to meet demand for fuel efficient cars. Buying a car is not like buying laundry detergent. You just can't switch over to a new car rapidly enough to adapt to rapid changes in the price of fuel.

        Yet another situation where the failures of market economics is laid bare. This is a situation where only government has the ability to do the correct thing for the public good.

        Well personal responsibility is hard. Performing a lot of research on different vehicles and evaluating the pro's and con's of different options and performance characteristics is a lot of work. It is a lot easier just to go to the dealership and buy whatever they say you will look good in. So I can see how someone might be surprised when the price of gas suddenly rises after they have purchased a gas guzzling vehicle, because that hasn’t ever really happened before.

        Thank goodness there are people

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gurps_npc (621217)
      That would be fine - if cars were required to provide zero pollution. I always hate the idiots that try to cheat by ignoring the costs that OTHER people pay for your purchases.
    • by Nimey (114278)

      Bull-fucking-shit. If it was that simple I wouldn't be seeing mommy SUVs speeding down the highway anymore, because gas is so expensive.

      See also: commons, tragedy of the.

      • Re:Here's an idea (Score:4, Informative)

        by maztuhblastah (745586) on Friday July 29, 2011 @12:48PM (#36923096) Journal

        Bull-fucking-shit. If it was that simple I wouldn't be seeing mommy SUVs speeding down the highway anymore, because gas is so expensive.

        Oh dear. It seems you don't quite understand how a free market works.

        You see the determination of whether or not a good/service is "worth it" is not made by a person or a group of people for the whole economy -- instead, it's made on an individual, purchaser-by-purchaser basis.

        Yes, it might not make sense to you to pay the cost of an SUV's fill-up. And indeed you might not have an SUV for that very reason. But some people have decided that it is worth it -- and those are the people who drive those "mommy SUVs" that you're talking about.

        The parent's point still stands: eventually, gas will get expensive enough that most people don't think it's worth it to drive inefficient cars anymore.

        • Re:Here's an idea (Score:4, Informative)

          by w_dragon (1802458) on Friday July 29, 2011 @01:52PM (#36924296)
          You give people way too much credit. Most people barely pay attention to the numbers on the pump. They fill up, swipe the card, and then wonder why they can't pay off their credit card at the end of the month. The idea that the free market solves everything assumes a lot of things that simply aren't true.
    • Hasn't worked to date... How much more expensive would gas have to be before we stop seeing one-person-occupied SUVs? $5/gal? $10/gal? And how many people would lose their jobs and livelihood if we did that? All so the one-man-in-an-SUV commuters can barrel along at 80mph getting 7mpg.

      Put more generally, why should everybody else get their wallets eviscerated to save the environment when the problem isn't the price gas but that we manufacture cars that get shitty mileage? Since next years model is automatic

      • by zzsmirkzz (974536) on Friday July 29, 2011 @02:32PM (#36924998)

        but after numerous re-reads of the constitution, I can't actually find that right anywhere in there.

        This is just a nit-pick but obviously you glossed over the 10th amendment - "powers not granted to the federal government nor prohibited to the states by the Constitution are reserved, respectively, to the states or the people.". Meaning that just because an individual right is not enumerated in the Constitution doesn't mean you don't have it - in fact it usually means that you do.

  • by bstory (89087)

    The real question is will the market bear the new regulations? Americans as a nation have obviously NOT demanded higher MPG ratings from their cars or there would be no need for the regulation. How much more will each vehicle cost to use the higher technology needed to achieve the standards? By setting the standards the government may have artificially increased the market price and will thus affect supply and demand. I'm all for environmental policies, but outside of the academic towers, the real world

    • by Kenja (541830) on Friday July 29, 2011 @12:31PM (#36922768)
      Consumers have been demanding better milage. Just look at how well the Prius did for proof. American car makers however have maintained that good milage was fiscally impossible. That is until they where forced into it via regulation. Now they all proclame how great they are for having gas milage that matches the rest of the world.
    • I would predict that a slew of crappy little unsafe cars. As this include light trucks we might see a hybrid truck, they have the potential to be great for a lot of towing (electric is great for getting it going) but I realy wonder if you can make a truck that can tow 6 tons lighter than the current 2.5 tons and/or more fuel efficient when empty while retaining durability. Using a hybrid truck as a gen set on site looks rather interesting, inverter off the battery and float charge the batteries when/if ne

      • How about learning about crash safety? I'd rather crash in an Audi A3 than in some crap-ass SUV that only gives you the illusion of safety. Watch some crash test vids on youtube once in a while. One interesting thing to watch is not the devastation at the front, but rather how the wheels react in an offset crash, watch for them being shoved in towards the footwell. Also interesting, watch the side around the driver's door, how the distortion ripples through it. Tells you a lot about real safety if you know
    • You mean, would they pay the price of a Prius? They're on back order.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gnasher719 (869701)

      The real question is will the market bear the new regulations? Americans as a nation have obviously NOT demanded higher MPG ratings from their cars or there would be no need for the regulation. How much more will each vehicle cost to use the higher technology needed to achieve the standards? By setting the standards the government may have artificially increased the market price and will thus affect supply and demand. I'm all for environmental policies, but outside of the academic towers, the real world still intervenes and economics will affect well intentioned government mandates.

      This doesn't have to cost much at all, quite the opposite.

      Your mileage depends on many things: The efficiency of the engine, the weight of the vehicle, how much energy is wasted on accelerating and braking, how much is wasted due to going at an inefficient (high) speed or due to choosing the wrong gear. A huge factor is weight. Some people think a heavier car is safer. It isn't; the only thing that is safer in an accident is having a car that is heavier than the other car. Halve the weight of every car,

    • The real question is will the market bear the new regulations? Americans as a nation have obviously NOT demanded higher MPG ratings from their cars or there would be no need for the regulation.

      No, the buyers have not demanded more fuel efficient vehicles. However, the government has several other constraints that must be met. One of which is national security. Whenever oil prices spike, it becomes more expensive to project our influence in the world. Oil prices spike because of increased demand. As such, r

  • Just a game (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 29, 2011 @12:27PM (#36922668)

    This doesn't mean that you'll actually see cars that get 50-60mpg sold in the U.S. The automakers get credits on mpg for adding things that have nothing to do with fuel efficiency (like LED headlights and crap). So you might have a vehicle with a bunch of addons that only gets 35mpg, but the automaker gets credit for a vehicle that gets 50mpg (because they get 15mpg worth of fuel efficiency credits). Not to mention it's an average. If the automaker sells one vehicle that gets 20mpg for $25,000 and one vehicle that gets 100mpg for $60,000, they have a fleet average of 60mpg. It doesn't matter that they sell 10,000 of the 20mpg units and only 500 of the 100mpg units. And trucks get completely different (and drastically lower) standards than cars. It's amazing what you can classify as a "truck" these days.

    CAFE is a joke.

    • It doesn't matter that they sell 10,000 of the 20mpg units and only 500 of the 100mpg units.

      Actually, CAFE doesn't make that mistake.

    • Re:Just a game (Score:4, Informative)

      by BBTaeKwonDo (1540945) on Friday July 29, 2011 @01:16PM (#36923622)

      If the automaker sells one vehicle that gets 20mpg for $25,000 and one vehicle that gets 100mpg for $60,000, they have a fleet average of 60mpg. It doesn't matter that they sell 10,000 of the 20mpg units and only 500 of the 100mpg units.

      Wrong. From http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/cafe/overview.htm [nhtsa.gov] : "Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) is the sales weighted average fuel economy [snip] " Scroll down to "How is a manufacturer’s CAFE determined for a given model year?" for more details.

    • by snsh (968808)

      It's weird that most posters (not to mention the author of the TFA) seem totally unaware that the 56-mpg figure does not mean what anyone thinks it does.

      Obama, Detroit, and the press are doing a good job of glossing over the details.

  • This ain't about environment. This ain't about using fewer resources.

    This is about "what standards can our manufacturers meet while the Chinese can't and we can keep them from flooding our market with dirt cheap cars".

    Or did you think the safety requirements are there because anyone cares whether you eat your steering wheel when you hit a truck?

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      The way the US dollar [bloomberg.com] is going, you won't be able to afford "cheap" cars from China anyway. Yeah Bernanke harps on about how good a weak dollar is for exports. The US has always consumed more than it produces [census.gov] and the reality [econoday.com] of the situation is that even Chinese crap is becoming expensive.
  • Why doesn't Obama require Intel to release the 10 GHz Chip? Apparently the only thing stopping progress is there isn't any legislation mandating it, right? So why stop at 60mpg? Why not 1000 mpg? We should also mandate flying cars and a PONY for EVERYONE!!!
    What is up with this imaginary thinking?
    Do people really believe everything they think?

    • by deadhammer (576762) on Friday July 29, 2011 @12:41PM (#36922960)
      Clearly you must think that the continent of Europe is a mystical fantasy land that doesn't actually exist. The Europeans manage to regularly sell vehicles with fuel economies in the high 40s/low 50s of MPG. No flying cars or mandatory ponies. Oh wait, Europe is a commie pinko dystopia, so the laws of physics must work differently over there.

      Also notice how GM, Ford and Chrystler are the ones who recommended 54.5 mpg as opposed to the 56.2 that the administration wanted and the 60 that environmentalists wanted. Oh wait, that must mean that GM, Ford and Chrystler are part of the hated Obama administration! Source of all evil! The truth is out there, man!
    • Because for some reason, people hate the gas tax even more than CAFE standards. I never understand why.

    • Why doesn't Obama require Intel to release the 10 GHz Chip? Apparently the only thing stopping progress is there isn't any legislation mandating it, right? So why stop at 60mpg? Why not 1000 mpg? We should also mandate flying cars and a PONY for EVERYONE!!!
      What is up with this imaginary thinking?
      Do people really believe everything they think?

      People like you were probably heckling the Wright brothers, saying that heavier than air flight wasn't possible. Some things may not be "possible" today (like 1000mpg;

    • by plopez (54068)

      Which are great in some areas. But in other places, like the Great American Fly Over I live in they don't work in January.

  • by s122604 (1018036) on Friday July 29, 2011 @12:33PM (#36922800)
    The real way to tackle this problem is with gas taxes. Raise the cost of gas up to 6 dollars a gallon, and the fleet average will go up, from consumer demand.
    • by plopez (54068) on Friday July 29, 2011 @12:46PM (#36923038) Journal

      and/or stop subsidizing the oil companies. But that initiative just failed in the House a few months ago.

    • by webheaded (997188) on Friday July 29, 2011 @01:18PM (#36923682) Homepage
      Yeah, that's what everyone needs. We need all the poor people that can't afford a decent car to get raped on gas prices. Let's not pretend that public transit is a good alternative either because in a lot of places (like Phoenix where I live) it's a joke. You cannot function here without a car. I keep seeing everyone present this as a solution and I'm sorry, but I just don't understand the logic here. Not everyone buys that gas guzzler because they don't care about the environment...a LOT of people buy whatever they can afford. I bought my aunt's old SUV because she sold it to me cheap and I could pay her directly without interest. Did I WANT an SUV? Fuck no, but you know what, I needed a car NOW that I knew worked and I didn't have tons of money to do it (my wife and I got jobs on different sides of the city). We don't all have the luxury of choices. Sometimes you don't have the time and money to dance around and get the perfect fit.

      I understand the need to get people away from gas guzzlers...I do...but how is raising taxes to make it prohibitively expensive to drive at all any different from using the government to just mandate better mileage from the auto makers? Honestly, either way the government is forcing someone's hand, so shouldn't it be the car companies rather than all of us? It must be great to preach this from your armchair there, but this kind of sentiment really pisses me off. Take a look around at the real world. Things don't quite work out as neatly as some of you seem to think. Shit sucks sometimes and punishing people for this kind of bullshit isn't doing anyone any favors.

      Yeah, cars might get more expensive, but I think you paying more for a new car is considerably better than being immediately screwed by gas prices doubling. Especially right now...we're in a recession (yes, I know, it's getting old, but it is true). Do you really think raising the price on something you have no choice but to buy is really going to help? If they raised the price to 6 dollars today, you know what I'd do? I'd have to pay 6 dollars a gallon. And you know what's even better about that? It would be even harder for me to save for a new car. Lol. Great plan! Yes, I find this situation distasteful as well, but give me a break. This "solution" is ridiculous.
      • by Bill Dimm (463823)

        how is raising taxes to make it prohibitively expensive to drive at all any different from using the government to just mandate better mileage from the auto makers?

        A gas tax aligns the cost/incentive with the amount of damage you are doing to the environment (not to mention the precarious position the country is put into by its reliance on foreign oil). If you drive a lot of miles, you have a large incentive to choose a fuel-efficient car. If you drive very few miles, the gas tax has little impact on you, which is appropriate because the car a low-mileage driver chooses to drive has very little impact on the the environment.

        ...better than being immediately screwed by gas prices doubling. Especially right now...we're in a recession

        I don't think anyone is advocating an imm

      • I understand the need to get people away from gas guzzlers...I do...but how is raising taxes to make it prohibitively expensive to drive at all any different from using the government to just mandate better mileage from the auto makers?

        The short answer is that mandated fuel economy standards mostly just affect automobiles. It doesn't affect consumer behavior in any other positive ways. Gasoline taxes have all sorts of interesting second order effects. For example Europe taxes fuel significantly more than the US does. This has over time resulted in significantly better public transportation (trains especially), less suburban sprawl, and widespread use of smaller more efficient automobiles. Higher gasoline taxes would arguably be among

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt.lynx@bc@ca> on Friday July 29, 2011 @12:34PM (#36922820) Journal

    Owing to the rate at which the number of automobiles is increasing, they could reach this goal of lower emissions and better fuel economy, and we'd still be polluting more and using more fuel than we are now.

    Granted, it's better that than no improvements at all, but if kept the same end-goal requirements, but shortened that vision to... oh, say 2015 or so... then they might have a chance at actually really helping... otherwise, it's just postponing the inevitable.

  • by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Friday July 29, 2011 @12:39PM (#36922918) Homepage
    With the various new technology like better hybrids and fully electric vehicles this doesn't seem unreasonable. Even a fully gasoline powered vehicle that seats 4 could do this. There is a cost to consider in achieving this such that vehicles will need to be much lighter or more all electrics. Both of these cost more than you standard steel framed and skinned standard gasoline engine. Apart from making vehicles lighter you could also make them less powerful but people like zippy cars. Another thing that could be done is increasing the engine efficiency such as by using the Atkinson cycle [wikipedia.org] increasing the compression (this would make it so people would need to use 89 or 91 octane instead of 87), or surface coatings [wikipedia.org] to decrease internal friction. Additionally people are going to have to get use to seeing and using 0 weight oils (I have heard discussions of going to negative weight oil as well) instead of the standard 5w30. I am sure we are going to see some postings here about the magic devices that Detroit is sitting on that would produce 100+MPG on a big pig car [wikipedia.org], crap that is similar to fuel line magnets [wikipedia.org], or the infamous water power car [wikipedia.org].
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by burning-toast (925667)
      You can also promote a shift over to turbo diesels like much of Europe uses. I own a 2006 VW Jetta which gets 55mpg on the highway under favorable conditions (level road, new pavement, behind other vehicles at consistent speed) and 41mpg under unfavorable conditions (hilly, windy, traffic, etc.)

      I usually get at least 35mpg in severely congested traffic (like roads filled with stop lights) if not >~40mpg on the side streets without too many stops.

      My car is not spartan by any measure (electrically adjustab
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Friday July 29, 2011 @12:52PM (#36923184) Homepage

    54.5 is pretty close

    Compared to how the White House usually negotiates, that's amazing. I'm surprised they didn't do what they usually do: Give up concessions early, then compromise on everything the other side wants.

  • by Zan Lynx (87672) on Friday July 29, 2011 @01:17PM (#36923662) Homepage

    The small airplane industry went through excessive legislation and lawsuits. The result was that people who wanted to fly an affordable small plane had to build their own.

    It's not illegal to build your own car yet (most places). So people who want to drive a genuinely fun car with actual power and only 15 MPG will order a truckload of parts delivered. Several weekends with an air wrench and they'll have whatever they want.

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