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Our Carsí Weight Problem: How government is making our cars lighter, and more dangerous
National Review ^ | 01/08/2013 | Robert E. Nortonj

Posted on 01/08/2013 7:21:25 AM PST by SeekAndFind

As we emerge from the long holiday season chasing new resolutions, many of us find ourselves focusing on watching our waistlines and taking off some extra pounds. As more Americans are diagnosed as obese, this renewed attention to health and weight can only be seen as a good thing. But America is also struggling with another weight problem — and what you don’t know about it just might kill you.

During the first term of the Obama administration, much was made of the bailout of the automotive industry. Common belief to the contrary, the U.S. government came to the rescue of all three of the major U.S. auto companies. We all know that GM and Chrysler received billions in federal loans and were forced to go through bankruptcy, but we sometimes fail to recall that Ford received a $5.9 billion low-interest loan from the Department of Energy and has paid back less than $200 million at the time of this writing.

And here’s the part of the deal that got much less attention: the new mandate that all auto manufacturers achieve by 2025 a Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE ) standard of 52 miles per gallon — twice the previous requirement of 26 miles per gallon.

At first blush, 52 mpg sounds like a laudable goal. What’s wrong with making more efficient cars? After all, they’ll be more affordable to drive, and simultaneously reduce the nation’s carbon emissions. Talk about a policy twofer!

The problem with the goal is simple: We can get only so far on the mileage front without affecting safety. Allow me, as someone who has spent a lifetime in and around the automotive industry, to explain why.

To get to where the government wants us to be, we start by employing all the engine technology possible to extract every last mile per gallon. This means using direct-injection combustion, variable valve timing, and sophisticated air management that includes more turbo-charging, as well as fine-tuning the engines with the use of sophisticated sensors and algorithms. The industry has done all of that, and today’s engines are impressively efficient.

We next turn to transmissions. These can help save fuel by allowing the engine to run at lower revolutions per minute (rpm). Think of being able to shift gears on a bicycle as you go up or down hills. This helps you get more from each pedal stroke. It is the same for vehicles. Today’s vehicles have progressed far from the original two-gear automatic transmissions; some offer as many as eight gears that automatically maintain engine rpm within a certain range. This has all been done, and the miles per gallon have improved accordingly.

However, all these efforts are not nearly enough to achieve the mandated 52 miles per gallon. So what else can be done? It’s what I call Jenny Craig engineering: reduce car weights, and reduce them massively.

It is a simple matter of physics: It takes less energy to propel a lighter object at a particular speed than a heavier object. You may wonder why so many vehicles suddenly stopped carrying a real spare tire years ago, or why there is so much plastic in vehicles today. Wonder no more: It was for weight reduction.

This is not a new trend; weight-reduction efforts have been ongoing since Jimmy Carter was in office. And they are not aimed just at larger vehicles. The Toyota Prius is slated to shed 500 pounds.

But less weight is a good thing, isn’t it? Well, not always. Why does professional boxing have weight categories that place athletes in competition with others the same size? Why is the NFL so concerned about the head injuries that seem to be happening with more and more frequency as players get bigger and faster?

Because size matters — and we all know it. Take this simple test. Imagine a head-on collision on a two-lane country road at a speed of 40 mph. One of the cars involved is a Cadillac Escalade and the other a Chevy Volt. Which would you want to be in? Which would you want your child in?

In a Cadillac minute, you would choose the Escalade. Because you don’t need to be an automotive engineer to know the big car will crush the small car. The driver in that little car will in all probability be severely injured, maybe killed. You, the driver in the Escalade, may walk away unharmed, or with only minor injuries.

Why? Once again, it’s physics. The force of something heavy and big crashing into something small and light leaves that something much, much smaller.

The same goes for that big heavy vehicle crashing into something stationary, like a wall or a tree. Or something pretty mobile — like a deer — crashing into the vehicle.

Bigger and heavier is simply better when it comes to car crashes, all other things being equal.

We do not have to speculate about the safety ramifications of being in a smaller vehicle; the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ran a rather expensive series of tests in which it pitted a smaller vehicle against the next size larger vehicle from the same manufacturer. Specifically, they ran a Honda Fit into a Honda Accord, a Toyota Yaris into a Toyota Camry, and a Mercedes C Class into a Smart Fortwo (owned by Mercedes).

Care to guess at the results?

Do you think the smaller cars performed “a little worse”? That would be a gross understatement. In 40 mph offset-collision tests, the small cars were basically obliterated by their larger siblings. Here are the tests. Make sure to watch what happens to the crash dummy in the smaller vehicle.

See why size matters?

The sad truth is that there is only so much magic that you can perform on the safety front by installing air bags and using high-tech materials like carbon fiber and even seat belts that begin to cinch you tighter as they anticipate the crash. The sad truth is that these well-intentioned and well-designed cars can’t defy physics.

There are approximately 42,000 motoring fatalities each year in the United States. That is a large number, and it has remained stubbornly at that level. Why, with all the technological innovations that have occurred in so many key areas, such as electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, and air bags, have we not reduced those numbers significantly? The major reason, I believe, is the smaller vehicles our government has been pushing in order to support the environmental agenda.

Back in the 1960s, Ralph Nader wrote the book Unsafe at Any Speed, exposing the deficiencies — and sometimes outright negligence — of automakers on the safety front. The book chronicled how the Big Three — GM, Ford, and Chrysler — sacrificed safety for the sake of comfort and style. A full chapter was dedicated to the Chevrolet Corvair, which was retired from production. Ralph Nader became a star.

It’s time for a new Nader to produce the sequel to that book. One that includes the definitive study that reveals the number of Americans who have died because of the push for lighter and more environmentally friendly cars.

With one full chapter that showcases how bigger cars fare against smaller cars in crash tests.

This time, it will be the government bureaucrats and ideologues on the left doing the explaining to an irate American public.

And the apologizing.

— Robert E. Norton is vice president for external affairs at the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and former assistant general counsel at Chrysler.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cars; epa; regulations; weight

1 posted on 01/08/2013 7:21:35 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

bump


2 posted on 01/08/2013 7:28:03 AM PST by gibsosa
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To: SeekAndFind

There are too many peasants mucking up the Walden paradise the oligarchs deserves. Anything that reduces their number is a good thing, including herding them into containment facilities and gassing them.


3 posted on 01/08/2013 7:35:05 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (TYRANNY: When the people fear the politicians. LIBERTY: When the politicians fear the people.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Yeah, there is a reason that cars like that get tipped over. I don’t ever recall hearing about a 1972 Ford Grand Torino getting tipped over.


4 posted on 01/08/2013 7:40:54 AM PST by IllumiNaughtyByNature ($1.84 - The price of a gallon of gas on Jan. 20th, 2009.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

It is also a mind game. Go to any big city and see the size of parking spots. They have purposely narrowed and shortened them to make it hard to park a full size car or truck.

I have a truck and the other day we went somewhere in the wife’s Terrain (I call it a trucklette). I have never had anyone honk at me or display any road rage type behavior when I am in my truck. I guess they thought that since I was in a sissy wagon I was a sheman and I got honked at several times and people were cutting me off and driving overly aggressive. Whether she likes it or not the Mrs gets a bigger SUV next time around.


5 posted on 01/08/2013 7:43:06 AM PST by Resolute Conservative
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To: SeekAndFind

Try packing up the wife, a couple kids, a dog and some luggage and head out on vacation in a piece of crap like that.

It is simple. Obama and the other anti-American socialists want everyone living in government city housing and riding government subsidized buses and trains. Private vehicles will not be affordable to anyone but the government socialist party elites.


6 posted on 01/08/2013 7:43:52 AM PST by Proud2BeRight
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To: SeekAndFind

Each year the cars have a small reduction in weight, rather than massive cuts of 10-15%. This is being done to allow older-heavier vehicles to leave the roadways, and replace them with newer lighter ones. If we just cut the weight as much as possible, there would be grave safety implications for the new vehicles, hence the slow 2-5% yearly reductions in weight. Most vehicles are gone within 10-12 years so as the newer vehicles replace them, incrementally over time the lessened weight is less a safety factor; unless your new car is in an accident with a car from 15-20-30 years ago - and even your SUV today will not save you from a mid-sized car from the 70’s.


7 posted on 01/08/2013 7:47:26 AM PST by Jumper
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To: SeekAndFind

I certainly agree with Mr Norton that heavier cars are safer
so I bought a Ford F350 Super Duty and put a dump box on it which I have full of gravel because I want to make sure that I am riding a vehicle that has more mass than the guy I collide with. Feel a lot safer this way. Other cars usually get out of the way for me too.


8 posted on 01/08/2013 7:47:26 AM PST by tommix2 (,)
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To: SeekAndFind

While there is a place for a small, European-style car (it has its advantages in congested city centers like Manhattan, where there is limited parking and few highways), a small car like that is useless and dangerous in the vast majority of this country.


9 posted on 01/08/2013 7:47:26 AM PST by Conscience of a Conservative
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To: SeekAndFind

“We can get only so far on the mileage front without affecting safety.”

Exactly.
I did have a 1990 Geo Metro at one point.
It weighed in at a “hefty” 1,967 pounds or thereabouts.
It had as an engine a detuned Yokohama motorcycle racing engine, 3 cylinder one liter [or so. Technically it was .9 or less of a liter.]
Fun car except that it had manual steering.
You see, to squeek 45 miles to the gallon out of the thing they made LOTS of compromises.
The frame was ridiculously light, the engine small, no power steering as that added weight and reduced engine efficiency through parasitic drag on the engine, no ABS as that added weight and coplexity, and the environmental controls were primitive.
How light is too light?
Well, let’s say that the car got ‘stuck’ on ice and I could PUSH IT UP THE HILL past the ice by hand.
It did not have the weight to crawl up a small incline on ice.
A pickup truck could have buzzed up that hill at thirty no problem.
And if we’d been hit in that car, I would NOT be posting right now.
[It had a recall on the head, seems they were prone to cracking. Well, recall work done, they destroyed the engine. Thanks Chevy!]


10 posted on 01/08/2013 7:49:07 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: Proud2BeRight
Try packing up the wife, a couple kids, a dog and some luggage and head out on vacation in a piece of crap like that.

No one would do that - it's not the intended purpose of that car. It's designed to be an urban commuting vehicle, not a primary car (or, only a primary car for urban dwellers who would otherwise not own a car). I actually know a few people who have cars like that ("smart" cars, fiats, etc.), and they use them almost exclusively for getting around parts of NYC - grocery shopping, to and from work, and so on.

11 posted on 01/08/2013 7:52:18 AM PST by Conscience of a Conservative
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To: Proud2BeRight
Try packing up the wife, a couple kids, a dog and some luggage and head out on vacation in a piece of crap like that.

No one would do that - it's not the intended purpose of that car. It's designed to be an urban commuting vehicle, not a primary car (or, only a primary car for urban dwellers who would otherwise not own a car). I actually know a few people who have cars like that ("smart" cars, fiats, etc.), and they use them almost exclusively for getting around parts of NYC - grocery shopping, to and from work, and so on.

12 posted on 01/08/2013 7:52:28 AM PST by Conscience of a Conservative
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To: SeekAndFind

I’m not that concerned about safety other than as a relative thing. Heck, I’m a motorcyclist. But when it comes to travel safety, I’m about accident avoidance, not accident survival. And I’ve avoided my fair share and then some.

And a lightweight car is easy to throw around, making accident avoidance a lot easier.


13 posted on 01/08/2013 7:52:36 AM PST by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Some cars are getting absolutely fat. Look at the new Ford Fusion, it is a pig.

EPA INTERIOR VOLUME 118.8 cu.ft. 	
CURB WEIGHT 3427 lbs.
CARGO CAPACITY, ALL SEATS IN PLACE 16.0 cu.ft. 	

Some of the all wheel drive models are over 4000 pounds!

14 posted on 01/08/2013 7:56:52 AM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: gibsosa
bump

Do you realize how much damage you just did to that vehicle?!?!?!

15 posted on 01/08/2013 8:03:08 AM PST by Roccus
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To: Darksheare

I owned the Metro’s predecessor, a 1985 Chevrolet Sprint. It was even lighter (around 1600lb, I think), and would get 48mpg on the freeway. But it struggled with even the slightest grade, and the body was so flimsy that if you jacked up one corner to change a tire you couldn’t open the door on that side of the car.

But because it was so light, it was kinda fun to chuck around on a twisty road. That engine was really sensitive to oiling, though; I went through two of ‘em. One was done in by a clogged oil pump pickup, the other by a valve cover gasket leak. Both engines spun the #3 rod bearing as a result.


16 posted on 01/08/2013 8:03:48 AM PST by ZirconEncrustedTweezers (Some cultures are destined to remain stupid and we need to quit trying to uplift them.)
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To: Darksheare

BTW, at 1,967lb your Metro comes in around 150 pounds under my ‘91 Miata. And the Miata probably has a stiffer body in spite of being a convertible.

Despite its low mass, the Miata only does about 30mpg on the freeway, maybe 32 if I’m really careful. I suspect it’s because of its low gearing; the engine turns 3500rpm at 65mph.


17 posted on 01/08/2013 8:07:42 AM PST by ZirconEncrustedTweezers (Some cultures are destined to remain stupid and we need to quit trying to uplift them.)
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To: cuban leaf

“I’m not that concerned about safety other than as a relative thing. Heck, I’m a motorcyclist. But when it comes to travel safety, I’m about accident avoidance, not accident survival. And I’ve avoided my fair share and then some.

And a lightweight car is easy to throw around, making accident avoidance a lot easier.”

I’m with you. I am of the opinion that as our cars have become better at protecting us in a crash, as a whole drivers have become less concerned about avoiding crashes.


18 posted on 01/08/2013 8:09:35 AM PST by ZirconEncrustedTweezers (Some cultures are destined to remain stupid and we need to quit trying to uplift them.)
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To: ZirconEncrustedTweezers

Chevy jacked #2 cylinder on us when we had them ‘helpfully’ do the head recall work.
Should have left it alone, prior to their “recall work” #2 cylinder was fine and compression on all three were fine.
I do admit to getting the car up on two wheels one time.
Only about a foot off the ground, but it was a hoot.
Ran OVER a deer with it, the stupid thing laid down in the road.
Metro is NOT atracker and was never meant ot run over foot tall objects.
Transmission was shredded.
*sigh*
Replaced the transmission only to have Chevy do their screw jobber on the car about a year later.
The 1990 Metro was similar when jacked up, the opposite side doors didn’t like to oppen.
But you could get them open with some care and a little more force.

Had one tech that kept screwing up the rear wheel bearings.
They kept crushing them, and when they weren’t crushing them they were putting Geo Storm bearings and parts on the car.
Told the guy he was aching for a lawsuit.
He sat chewing on his cigarette and scratching his butt.
Chevy, the pride of nobody.
[Geo was actually Chevy for you guys in Rio reading along with us.]

Next vehicle I had was a VW Golf.
Hit a deer with it at 55MPH and all it did was shove the bumper and driver side headlight back a bit.


19 posted on 01/08/2013 8:11:53 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: ZirconEncrustedTweezers

Current vehicle tops in at close to three thousand pounds.
2800 rpm at 70.


20 posted on 01/08/2013 8:13:59 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: Resolute Conservative
I have a truck and the other day we went somewhere in the wife’s Terrain (I call it a trucklette). I have never had anyone honk at me or display any road rage type behavior when I am in my truck. I guess they thought that since I was in a sissy wagon I was a sheman and I got honked at several times and people were cutting me off and driving overly aggressive. Whether she likes it or not the Mrs gets a bigger SUV next time around.

Between my wife and I, we have three high mileage vehicles. This lets me keep two on the road at any given time when one's down for repairs.

One's a '94 Altima. One's an 02 Sebring, and One's a 00 FS 4x4 Sierra extended cab pickup.

It is incredible the difference it makes when driving all three.

When I drive the Altima, people pull out in front of me constantly and I generally have people poking along below the speed limit in front of me.

When I drive the Sierra, virtually no one pulls out in front of me, and they actively get out of my way when I'm behind them. It's almost magical.

The Sebring, as expected, is somewhere in between the other two.


21 posted on 01/08/2013 8:15:30 AM PST by chrisser (Senseless legislation does nothing to solve senseless violence.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Thing about cars like the “SMART CAR” is that their forte is not really gas mileage. It is size. Specifically, length. And that is an advantage only in congested urban areas.

I commute 120 miles a day, fortunately it is almost all over 60 mph. I currently drive a Scion xB that gets about 33 mpg – on the cheapest regular gas. I looked at the extra small new scion, the smart car and even the new Fiat and was astounded to discover that the gas mileage was not really any better. The smart car boasts 40, but on premium gas, and the others don’t do much better than my extremely roomy and stable Scion.

These cars are not designed for regular highway use, but can be used there occasionally. And they won’t hold my bass and music equipment which I need for after work rehearsals.

Basically, these cars are wonderful for the person who lives near, or spends a lot of time driving I downtown or other congested urban areas. For anyone else, there is little gain and much sacrifice.

Note: One of the folks I work with drives one, and does a commute similar to mine. Their stories about it being squirrelly on the highway are a good source of entertainment. Oh, and it dos NOT get 40 mpg for them. It’s more like 35.

For urbanites, it’s a great step up from a scooter. Especially in winter. :-)


22 posted on 01/08/2013 8:15:44 AM PST by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: cuban leaf

” Their stories about it being squirrelly on the highway are a good source of entertainment. “

Understatement of the year car wise.


23 posted on 01/08/2013 8:17:52 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: ZirconEncrustedTweezers

My scion xB turns 3,500 rpm at 70 and I thought IT was geared low. I’ve been thinking of replacing it with a Miata but assumed their highest gear would get you down to something like 2,500 rpm at 80. Looks like I’d need to test drive one first.


24 posted on 01/08/2013 8:22:16 AM PST by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: cuban leaf

For me, the strongest argument against a Smart is the fact that I can buy a compact sedan for much less money that nearly matches it on fuel consumption, seats four, and runs on regular unleaded.


25 posted on 01/08/2013 8:23:15 AM PST by ZirconEncrustedTweezers (Some cultures are destined to remain stupid and we need to quit trying to uplift them.)
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To: Darksheare
I owned a 1975 Honda Civic. Got 40-45 mpg on the highway. Weighed 1800 lbs, and had 53 HP. No AC. Good car for what it was. Doubt it would pass any current crash standards.


26 posted on 01/08/2013 8:26:21 AM PST by Mr Rogers (America is becoming California, and California is becoming Detroit. Detroit is already hell.)
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To: ZirconEncrustedTweezers

For me, the strongest argument against a Smart is the fact that I can buy a compact sedan for much less money that nearly matches it on fuel consumption, seats four, and runs on regular unleaded.

Exactly. I’d take a Kio Rio or similar car over a smart car any day of the week. It’s not even close.


27 posted on 01/08/2013 8:27:25 AM PST by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: cuban leaf

The Miata is intended first and foremost as a fun car; as such, it’s geared for acceleration rather than fuel economy. Mine is okay on fuel, but not great, but it’s also been pretty cheap to maintain. Currently it has about 287K on the clock, still on its original engine and transmission and only its third clutch (it got 100K and 145K on the first two clutches).

I did end up replacing the ring and pinion on mine at around 115K (they broke during an open-track day), but this problem was addressed on ‘94 and later cars by changing to a larger R&P set.


28 posted on 01/08/2013 8:28:37 AM PST by ZirconEncrustedTweezers (Some cultures are destined to remain stupid and we need to quit trying to uplift them.)
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To: cuban leaf

I have an 05 Pontiac Vibe. Consistently gets 37 mph on the highway, if I drive 60.


29 posted on 01/08/2013 8:32:03 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: ZirconEncrustedTweezers

Sometimes I go to youtube to watch those crash compilations from car dash cams, most of which are in Russia. I realized that many of those accidents should be shown in drivers trainng courses because I caught myself applying what I learned by watching them. An example is looking both ways before entring an intersection right after the light turns green. Another is, on the 80+ miles of two lane highway I drive every day, when a clump of cars is approaching, watch for one of them to try to pass.

It is defensive driving, more than heavy safety features, that has the best chance of saving your life.


30 posted on 01/08/2013 8:33:02 AM PST by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: Mr Rogers

Look at the Civic now, it bloated in weight and has bells & whistles.
And kids love sticking those ridiculous fart cans on the exhaust systems.


31 posted on 01/08/2013 8:35:41 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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bmfl


32 posted on 01/08/2013 8:36:34 AM PST by Titan Magroyne (What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.)
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To: cuban leaf

I’m in NE Ohio.

We have some Smart cars running around here.

Well, we did. In the spring, summer and fall.

They disappeared when winter hit, along with the motorcycles.

I have to assume that everyone who buys a Smart car around here either has another vehicle, takes public transportation/carpools in winter, or stays home for the season.


33 posted on 01/08/2013 8:37:12 AM PST by chrisser (Senseless legislation does nothing to solve senseless violence.)
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To: gibsosa

Two points.

1. Politicians believe they can Legislate Innovation. Obama bragged about imposing the 52 MPG CAFE Standard like he was some sort of an Automotive Engineering Genius. Look what I did he boasted!

Well, if he was that smart, why not make the CAFE Standard 1000 MPG? Problem solved, now let’s disarm the Citizenry.

2. Inertia is a bitch.


34 posted on 01/08/2013 8:43:03 AM PST by Kickass Conservative (I don't Trust a Government that doesn't Trust me. How about you Comrade?)
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To: ZirconEncrustedTweezers

>>The Miata is intended first and foremost as a fun car...<<

This and the number of miles you got out of yours are why I want one. My commute is almost all on two lane twisties. Every single day (central Kentucky). It’s a lot of fun in the Scion but parts of it would be a scream in the Miata. And because I put a LOT of miles on my car, I’d like something I could have fun commuting in for many years, not three or four.

And it would be fun for my wife and me to drive to Chicago to see the grand kids, not to mention the rest of the east coast and southern states.

Now that I think about it, I’m actually thinking of replacing our 2001 Chrysler 300M with the Miata. It’s got 170k miles, got its driver side wiped out by a deer a few months ago, and the AC permanently went out (too expensive to fix) late last summer. I’m thinking of burning through it’s last miles in my commute until the weather requires AC (the heat and humidity here make it a requirement!) and then trading it for a Miata. We’ve got the 4x4 Silverado for the big stuff now. My wife and I can switch back and forth between the Scion and the Miata.

But I ramble...


35 posted on 01/08/2013 8:44:14 AM PST by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: central_va
This will blow your mind, but my 1955 chevy 210 four door weighs almost 300 pounds less than the focus you described.
36 posted on 01/08/2013 8:48:28 AM PST by Celtic Conservative
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To: Sherman Logan

I have an 05 Pontiac Vibe. Consistently gets 37 mph on the highway, if I drive 60.


I confess that my tire pressure is low in my scion (I need to get them back to 40) and I actually spend a lot of time between 70 and 80 mph. Considering the shape of my car (brick) that may be a factor. ;-)


37 posted on 01/08/2013 8:52:39 AM PST by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: Darksheare
Look at the Civic now, it bloated in weight and has bells & whistles.

Yep. The current VW Golf GTI weighs around 50% more than the original, mid-'80s Rabbit GTI.

38 posted on 01/08/2013 9:09:04 AM PST by Charles Martel (Endeavor to persevere...)
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To: SeekAndFind
it gets even worse. Not factored in, here, is going to an EPA mandated E-15..even more weight will have to come off.
Plus, the EPA uses 93 Octane when doing MPG testing ( 91 Octane for 50 state (California) certification.)

It's a flippin joke.

http://www.caranddriver.com/features/the-truth-about-epa-city-highway-mpg-estimates

39 posted on 01/08/2013 9:15:22 AM PST by stylin19a (Obama - Fredo smart)
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To: Jumper

Great idea. Now, factor in deer, ditches, trees, semi’s, stake trucks, trains, windstorms, snow skids, black ice.

Care to rephrase your argument?


40 posted on 01/08/2013 9:23:41 AM PST by cyclotic ( Obama's golden halo is really just a rusted hubcap)
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To: Charles Martel

I miss my ‘89 Golf.
:(


41 posted on 01/08/2013 9:26:22 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: SeekAndFind

Although generally correct, he gets the facts wrong.
Particularly with
“The same goes for that big heavy vehicle crashing into something stationary, like a wall or a tree.”
False, false, false.

Also he ignores the trend in mass as a function of
complexity of cars and side-impact standards. Like
many early-1990s cars, my 1993 Saturn is really light.
And it still gets good mileage.


42 posted on 01/08/2013 9:28:57 AM PST by command_liner
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To: Sherman Logan

In 2009, I bought a 2006 Vibe with 142,000 miles and a 5 speed. I’m now at 215,000 miles. Total repair-1 set of front brakes, tires and a heater fan resistor. I drive 60-100 miles a day. Last time I checked, it was well over 30 mph. Much of my commute is 75-80 mph.


43 posted on 01/08/2013 9:34:34 AM PST by cyclotic ( Obama's golden halo is really just a rusted hubcap)
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To: Darksheare

Yeah, but you could picnic with the entire family under the hood, there was so much room.

I got the premier model, 1989, that claimed 55 town, 65 highway, iirc. I put 150,000 miles on that vehicle (mostly in LA) over the next 16 years. Great car and a safety step up from what I drove before – a motorcycle (freeway driving on a bike in LA, you know what I mean). But I knew I was a goner if I got in a wreck. Driving a bike for many years heightened my driving senses in the Metro. No distractions, I didn’t even have a radio, eyes on stalks and all the senses tingling.

So did the MPG perform as advertised? It did when it was new.

The 1990 model required the California Emissions package on it, and the MPG rating dropped by 10 all around. In fact, put anything extra on that thing and down went the rating. Air conditioning -10, auto tranny -10. Age was not kind to its efficiency either. But I stuck with it through heat and near misses. It was actually fun to drive. Even at an advanced age I could get those tiny tires to squeal when I popped in second gear.

10 years driving in LA and 6 more in Houston – manual tranny and no air conditioning. I didn’t have to go that way, but I could hear old Abe screaming with discomfort for the squeeze I was putting on him, and that made it worth the discomfort; not so much the risk, but the discomfort for sure.

I was ahead of my time. Soon all of us, except our political overlords, will be riding manual trannies and no AC.

The NappyOne


44 posted on 01/08/2013 10:21:46 AM PST by NappyOne
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To: NappyOne

Well, the Road Toad [as it was named] did get 45 to 49 miles to the gallon.
Probably would have done better in an area with less hills.
[Obviously hills impact MPG performance.]
New York winter weather was the biggest killer to that poor car.
35MOG in winter.
Never did figure out if it was the winter blend fuel or the fact the car hovercrafted over most road conditions.
[Though we DID take that car through a blizzard where others were afraid to drive.]

There was cavernous amounts of space around that engine.
Downright drafty in there.
Had to swap out the starter a couple times, the design of the stator was such that the contacts would arc cut into the metal and kill the starter eventually.


45 posted on 01/08/2013 10:29:37 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: Charles Martel

“Yep. The current VW Golf GTI weighs around 50% more than the original, mid-’80s Rabbit GTI.”

Not to mention the current MINI Cooper weighs more than TWO original Austin Minis.


46 posted on 01/08/2013 2:06:14 PM PST by ZirconEncrustedTweezers (Some cultures are destined to remain stupid and we need to quit trying to uplift them.)
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To: Mr Rogers

I know one test that your 75 Civic would have KICKED BUTT in. That’s the bumper test. Today’s cars are PATHETIC - that one could take a good bump and laugh it off with maybe a scratch on the (rubber) bumper guard...while the other guy is out $1500, plus rag disposal. I’m still angry they backed off of those standards.


47 posted on 01/08/2013 4:08:49 PM PST by BobL
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