Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Fuel standards

There's a bill to soon to be vetoed by Bush to raise the fuel economy standards for cars to 35 miles per gallon. While I salute the efforts to become more efficient and lower our dependence on foreign oil I wonder if this is realistic. With Americans becoming more obese than any time and cars becoming smaller and smaller it will be just a matter of time before you won't order a car from the dealer you'll be fitted for one. Add to this the fact that we carry everything from golf clubs to heavy work tools in the trunk. It's become a second garage closet because we have no other place to store these items and you never know when you'll need that carburator you pulled from that 82 Merc you sold ten years ago even though it needs rebuilt and they don't make the parts for it any more. Any one wonder why you don't get anywhere near the EPA milage that was on the sticker when you bought it? Aside from the fact that the EPA tests cars with no one inside at a constant 45 mph. They ought to drop in about four Green Bay Packer defensive linemen, a couple of iron workers tool boxes and let a 16 year old who's just got his license drive it on a Friday night.
To really meet higher standards we need to get rid of the gigantic SUVs (how many of them have you seen running with only the driver?) Return to the station wagon if you have six kids and change the standards to something realistic. It'll take a combination of new technology and a change of infrastructure to solve this. I see cars in the near future made like racecars with carbon fibre structures and bodies made from memory steel or sprayed on plastics. Hybred, fuel cell and all electric cars may become commonplace and hopefully soon. If we can shift from burning oil products to fuel cell, solar or wind power or geothermal or any combination of these then I think there is hope for the future.

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