Congress is Going to Take Your Truck Away
Have you heard the radio ads, the ones that say that Congress is considering new fuel economy regulations? According to these ads, Congress is going to take our trucks away. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has stated that the new fuel economy bill being proposed in Congress by Sen. Byron Dorgan, Democrat from North Dakota, will result in ALL vehicles being smaller and more expensive. The alliance says that big vehicles, like family SUVs and pick-up trucks, will be hard or impossible to manufacture if these new fuel economy regulations take effect.
Here’s a link to listen to the ad that says we’re going to lose our trucks.
Here’s the link to listen to the ad that says we’re going to lose our big, safe SUV’s.
When I first heard the ads, I thought they were right. After all, if fuel economy must improve, then maybe cars will have to get smaller. Smaller vehicles weigh less, are more aerodynamic, and don’t need to be as powerful. Smaller engines usually mean better fuel economy. It makes logical sense, right?
Making a vehicle smaller is one way of improving fuel economy, but it’s not the only way. Better technology, like hybrid drive systems, hydraulic or pneumatic energy storage, plug-in battery packs, or alternative fuels are all ways that fuel economy could be improved. Not to mention simpler market-ready technologies like lightweight materials, turbochargers and superchargers, and direct injection. The fact is, these technologies could be easily implemented in vehicles and improve fuel economy without dramatically raising new vehicle costs. But according to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (which includes GM, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Toyota, VW, Mazda, BMW, Mitsu, and Porsche), any gains in fuel economy must come from making smaller vehicles.
In other words, bye-bye trucks and SUVs.
Why are these automakers trying to scare us? History has shown that every time the government has mandated newer auto regulations we’ve all benefited. Seat belts and airbags were resisted by automakers, but we all know how that turned out. Now we’re supposed to believe auto manufacturers when they say that tougher fuel economy standards mean that our kids’ lives are going to be at risk riding in the backseat of a Ford Festiva and that we’re going to do our hauling in Toyota’s that look like this. (See the story behind that photo here.)
I think the radio ads are misleading. For argument’s sake, let’s say that new cars got more expensive…so what? If a new car costs $2000 more, but it saves you $800 a year in gas, doesn’t that make sense? I think auto manufacturers are against this bill because it will hurt their profits…if their costs go up, their margins will go down.
What do you think?