29 July 2006

Episode 2; in which I respond about fuel-efficient cars

[Another letter to the editor, responding to an article about supposedly fuel efficient cars, claiming that having much higher mileage than the current generation of cars would take significant technological breakthroughs and cost a lot of money]

  • Jul 29, 2006

Episode 2; in which I respond about fuel-efficient cars

General Motors makes a small VAN which gets 40+MPG (better than the average small car or hybrid in the US) which costs under $5,000.

The GM Sunshine
Of course, it is only sold in China...

Kawasaki makes a motorcycle which gets between 60 and 70 MPG (The EX250R) - which also can go 0-60 in under 6 seconds and tops out at 100MPH - which costs $3,000.  

These vehicles are substantially SIMPLER than most cars, with no hybrid systems, no turbochargers, not even fuel injection.  What the two have in common is light weight, and low power. 

The average US family is 3-4 people, so there is no reason a three or four person "clown car" would not fit the needs of most Americans.  Besides for that most US households have 2 vehicles, and the average trip is less than two people (driver and passenger) so a motorcycle, scooter, or ultra small car could be a families' commute vehicle, with a secondary car for weekend trips.
The only way for America to break its dependence on foreign oil will be for us to realize the difference between luxury and necessity.  We may need to pick the kids up after school, but we don't need to do it in a 6000lb 200hp car that gets 25mpg.

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