Monday, January 14, 2013

Cars (Part III)

Photo:  General Motors

At last we come to the end of the past week's "Cars Trilogy"...  On par with such epic adventures as, "The Lord of the Rings Trilogy", "Back to the Future I, II, and II", and "The Bad News Bears" (yes, Classics each), we find ourselves at the end of the "Cars" series of posts and we are left wondering, "How will it end?", "What happens next?", and "For the love of God, will you ever post Part Three so I can get back to reading the "OMG!" page on Yahoo!?"

Well, wait NO MORE!  The epic "Cars Trilogy" of posts ends now!!! 

Well, not exactly right now, more of as in, "Very shortly ending once I get past this bit of prologue... right now!"

This officially marks the BEGINNING OF THE END of...  The MoosRoom Cars Trilogy" (Please hold your applause 'till the end - thank you!)

In "Cars - Part I" we learned that obscure federal and state agencies are working hard to come up with innovative ways to bill YOU for the miles you drive for work and play (because you shiftless Americans are NOT taxed enough already).  

YOU have been buying Electric and Hybrid Vehicles (and collecting those Federal Tax Rebates all the while) resulting in lower gas tax revenues required to maintain our 'aging highway infrastructure'.  Yes, I know that the $866 BILLION Stimulus bill was intended to do all this and more, but turns out...  It was only kidding.  That $866B mostly went to Unions.   You don't like it, call Jimmy Hoffa and tell him about it - sorry. 
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In "Cars - Part II" we learned that the NHTSB wants EV's, Hybrid Vehicles, and Oxen-Pulled-Wagons to 'Make more noise' because they are too dang quiet, especially when the oxen are wearing PETA-sanctioned-organically-grown and environmentally-friendly footwear (a.k.a.:  Ollie Ollie Oxen Frees).  AND that since the Feds have been paying taxpayers a 'Rebate' to BUY Hybrids and EV's (okay, so I made up the Oxen Wagon 'thing'. 
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It's NOT approved yet, that legislation is held up in the Senate currently) I felt the Feds ought to pay reparations to the 2,800 Americans (their number, not mine) 'per model year' injured when stepping in front of a 'SBD' (Silent Butt Deadly) Electric Vehicle.

All caught up?  Excellent!  We now begin the official beginning of... 





"Cars  - Part III"    

For years the friendly folks in the Federal Government have been handing out tax credits (i.e.:  taking taxes from YOU to give someone else a tax credit for doing something the Feds like) to the wealthiest Americans who have the foresight (and sizable enough bank account) to buy either an EV or Hybrid automobile.  

Why do I say the 'Wealthiest' Americans ("Holy smoking gun of the Richest 1% Batman!!!")?  Because most folks can scarcely afford a new gas-powered auto let alone the bleeding-edge cost of an EV or Hybrid vehicle. I wish someone would look at an honest comparison between high mileage gas-powered vehicles and their 'environmentally friendly green' counterparts, the EVs and Hybrids.

Oh, look, someone DID...

January 4, 2013, Bankrate.com:  
Are High-MPG Gas Cars Better than Hybrids?     


If a buyer springs for a high-mpg gas car, savings in fuel costs can be substantial. At current gas prices, a vehicle getting 30 mpg will save its owner $838 at the gas pump per year and $4,190 over five years, when comparing to a car that gets 20 mpg and if the gas price is $3.35, according to the Department of Energy.
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But not all fuel-efficient cars are created equal when it comes to making up for their higher sticker prices, according to a recent TrueCar.com study commissioned by The New York Times. Only two hybrids in the study, the Lincoln MKZ the Toyota Prius, made up for extra costs in a short time (1.2 years and 1.8 years, respectively.)  

Other hybrids took up to a decade or more to make up the cost, with the Chevrolet Volt taking as much as 27 years.


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It's the Little Things


Shoppers should not only consider a car's mpg, but also smaller features that can increase fuel savings. The way we drive, such as how we accelerate, affects how much fuel our cars use. New models are coming out with gauges showing how efficiently the vehicle is being driven, with the hope that it will educate drivers on maximizing fuel economy.


"No one really recognizes how much of a difference your driving can make on efficiency," says Joe Wiesenfelder, an executive editor at Cars.com.




Building a Better High-mpg Car

Vehicles are able to get more miles per gallon in part because of the materials they are now being made of. Companies are making vehicles lighter, turning to high-strength steel, aluminum and carbon fiber composites -- materials that weigh less but are strong enough to perform well in crash tests. Cars 10% lighter can boost fuel economy 6% to 8%, according to the Department of Energy.


Automakers are also making cars more aerodynamic and are investing in turbochargers, which are low-weight options for making an engine operate more efficiently and produce more power.


This emphasis on speed and power for high-mpg vehicles is a big shift from 10 years ago, when high-mpg cars relied on cheaper materials and weaker engines. Today, one can generally expect them to perform as well as their standard mpg counterparts.


"In many cases, there's no difference in how they perform," says Wiesenfelder. "It's not like the days when you were buying the smaller, weaker engine."



Huh, how about that?  In the past ten years, automakers have responded to the rising cost of fuel by building vehicles which get better gas mileage?  Who'd have thought it?  

Oh yeah, I know a few of you are shouting at your monitors, "Hey Cow Guy, but that's only because the Federal Government MAKES them do it via the aggressive CAFE standards put in place by President Obama!!!  So how about that?!?!?"  

Not so fast Buffalo Breath - let me ask you this:  How about the CAFE standards beefing up mileage requirements approved in 2007 - were they Obama's idea too?  Oh, that's right, it was President G. W. Bush in the White House - so if you're going to give anyone credit, please feel free to give it to him, okay?  AND since technology does not turn on a dime, the ramp up to recent MPG improvements to automotive design takes years, rather than months. 
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What are CAFE standards?  
(Please note the following excerpt has nothing to do with the school lunch program.  Thank you!
The following from Discovery.com provides a good overview:  Why are carmakers going green all of a sudden? In short, they have to, because Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards are getting tighter and tighter.

CAFE is the average miles per gallon of a car company's entire fleet of cars and trucks that each weigh less than 8,500 pounds (3,856 kilograms). Basically, these are minimum fuel economy standards that a car company must meet using its entire fleet of models averaged together.  And those standards got tougher in 2007 and 2009 with the goal of bringing the average up to 35.5 miles per gallon (15.1 kilometers per liter) by 2016.

 

The nasty part of CAFE standards is that if a manufacturer's auto line is NOT compliant with the average MPG requirement, they will necessarily produce small, cheap, shopping-cart-sized vehicles to bring the overall gas mileage of their fleet up.  Those who do not get their MPG's in line with the standard face 'Stiff Fines' from the Feds.  

These 'Stiff Fines' will be passed along to you, the car-buying public.  Oops, once again, if it feels like a 'Tax', it most likely IS a tax.  In the end - you will always pay for whatever the government demands.  Thanks for playing!

If you followed the link above, you noticed that the original article was posted on bankrate.com and re-linked by FoxBusinessNews.com.  There will be those who say, "Sure, ANOTHER Fox pack-o-lies perpetuated by the lying liars in the Low Life Lying Liars in the MoosRoom!!!"  

And to you, I say...  "Hay."

As in, "Hay, look, I found something on GreenCarReports.com that says pretty much the same thing as those wascally wabbits over at Fox Business... 


Hybrid, or Just High MPG?
The new breed of turbocharged gasoline cars will also reward you. Many achieve 40 mpg in gentle highway driving, but offer pleasing punch when you reach a twisty road. And let's face it, gasoline engines are still more tuneful than their diesel counterparts.


Hybrids perhaps lag behind on this factor, though that depends on the car you buy--there's a lot of fun to be had driving cars like the Lexus GS 450h. And the sporty little Honda CR-Z hybrid even has a manual gearshift option, for driving purists.



In the end, the market will decide (in spite of governmental 'bets') which manufacturers and vehicles win market share.  A Chevrolet Cruze 'Eco' gets roughly the same MPGs as a Chevrolet Volt on the highway.  The major difference is that there's no tax credit on the Cruze, and the cost of the vehicle is approximately one-half that of the Volt.  

So which would you buy, all things being even?  

I don't believe that the government should be in the business of attempting to pick 'Winners' and 'Losers' in private-sector enterprises.  GM and Ford (I personally don't care about Chrysler as they're not really American any longer) will make decisions based upon the market based upon feedback from consumers.  

If we're not buying something (go visit you local Chevrolet dealership and check out his inventory of 2012 Silverado trucks - oh yeah, they got them - they got LOTS of 'em in stock) they'll reduce production - well, in this case, they SHOULD HAVE reduced production sometime back in August based upon their current inventories in 2013.

I was sooooo close to finishing this post when I received a link which, I believe, will be the perfect epitaph for this one. 



Obama Administration Scaled Back on Electric Vehicle Purchases in 2012 -- January 14, 2013, Plugincars.com
In 2011, President Barack Obama's administration set a goal of purchasing only so-called alternative-technology vehicles for its fleet by 2015, but in 2012, the administration reduced its purchases of hybrid and electric vehicles by one-third, following a trend that's been ongoing for three years straight.

The statistics were reported last week by Detroit Free Press, which obtained numbers under a Freedom of Information request from the U.S. General Services Administration.

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In 2009, the federal government purchased 8,139 hybrid or electric vehicles. That figure dropped to 6,467 in 2010—and fell to a disappointing 2,645 units in 2011, before dipping to 1,801 in 2012. That is a 32 percent decrease in 2012 (compared to 2011), representing only 3.6 percent of the 50,114 vehicles purchased by the federal government last year. Overall, vehicle buying by the federal government dropped by 8.6 percent in 2012.



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If the Obama administration intends to follow through on its plan to purchase only alternative-technology vehicles for government fleets by 2015, then this downward trend will need to be reversed in 2013.

About 54 percent of the 1,801 alternative-fuel vehicles purchased by U.S. government agencies last year were built by Hyundai, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Honda.   


Oh President Obama, yet another promise broken to all those 'Greenies' out there - they're not going to like that.

Just another "Do as I say - Not as I do" from the friendly folks of the Federal Government.

Boom.  Done.

An appropriate end...

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