Saturday, December 15, 2007

35 MPG

According to an article in the NY Times, the US Senate has passed a bill to force cars, small trucks and SUVs to achieve an average 35 miles per gallon by the year 2020. Unknown to me, apparently the current bar is at 27.5 mpg for the year 2008, but I can't help but chuckle at that one - perhaps I'm misinformed, but I don't think the average SUV sold today, in 2007, achieves 27.5 mpg or anywhere close to that. Cars, maybe, but not SUVs or small trucks.

Despite my doubts that auto manufacturers will actually adhere to this new standard, lets hope that they at least improve significantly over what they can do today.

In frustrates me to no end seeing so many SUVs on the streets of Cambridge/Boston and the neighboring areas. In my own unscientific estimation, close to 40% of the non-work-related vehicles driving around the city are SUVs and I have to wonder... why?

Is there some off-road driving that needs to be done in the middle of the city that I'm simply not aware of? Maybe they need to drive across the Boston Commons to avoid traffic?

Are these people driving off to the Great Outdoors on weekends and for some reason need an SUV? Like in those SUV commercials where young couples go off and drive through mountain ranges and settle on some cliff to have a picnic while enjoying the view of nature?

If those couples really enjoy nature so much, you'd think that instead of getting an SUV, they'd have bought a (cheaper) car, driven to a parking lot near some hiking trails, and hiked through the wilderness.

If everyone bought an SUV and tore up the wilderness every weekend to "get away", there'd be nothing to get away to after a few years. Everyone would just be driving to SUV parks (kinda like trailer parks, except even trashier).


Jonathan said...

A lot of it has to do with taxes. Because SUVs are heavy enough to count as "work" vehicles, you get a tax break for buying one.

massi said...

Hello Jeffrey!

About the 35 MPG... it is definitely possible to get there.

My Prius does at worst 35 MPG, if I drive badly and with the engine totally cold, bug it typically does 45.
And actually, in common city driving conditions, with warm engine and without highway (speeding consumes more fuel...), the average is 47 MPG.
Of course the fact that it's hybrid makes the difference, but it is definitely not a small car, and shows that those consumptions are duable.


Jeffrey Stedfast said...

Massi: Absolutely... my doubt wasn't that cars /couldn't/ run at >=35 mpg, but rather that the US would actually hold SUVs to that standard.

Kasper said...

In Finland, a new law comes into effect in the year 2008, where taxes on a new car are depending on CO2 emissions. A small fuel efficient Japanese or European car will become some 20% cheaper, while a large SUV can become 30-40% more expensive. In a comparison on the effect on different cars, I saw the price of a Land Rover go up by $85,000! A Porsche will be $25,000 more expensive. Similarly, a hybrid car will be $10,000 cheaper. A nice side-effect of this is that American car makers are effectively blocked from the market, since you are so far behind in making your cars green. I believe it's the perfect model: if you want to pollute, you pay top money for the privilege.

Jeffrey Stedfast said...

Kasper: I really like the sound of that idea... and more than just for the "less polution" goal, but also for the side effect that more people ould be driving smaller/lighter cars than SUVs, and thus make the roads a safer place.

Anonymous said...

We drive SUVs for the sole purpose of making you bitch about it on your blog.

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