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SUV'S suck?

 
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2004 04:31 pm
cjhsa wrote:
You need to sleep with your friend.


I need to sleep with your friend. Cool
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Dec, 2004 12:00 am
lab rat wrote:
Interesting trends:
When technology advancements brought about significant increases in car fuel efficiency in the 80s-90s, we Americans did not take advantage of that to reduce our oil dependency. Rather, we saw the advent of the SUV and other larger vehicles, a trend that absorbed whatever progress the new technology could have made towards reduced foreign oil dependence. Similarly, when home heating prices dropped, we simply built bigger homes--the average sq ft of a new home nearly doubled from the 1960s to the 1990s. I find this interesting, and a bit depressing.

Hybrid vehicles may finally be a step forward that achieves public acceptance. I'm still waiting, though, to see what happens when the first generation of Prius'/etc. age to the point where they need the battery replaced. I've heard that the maintenance cost of this procedure is on the order of ~$7000, only a select few dealerships can do the work, and it's not on warranty. (Maybe just a rumor started by the SUV fans?) If true, that could erode public enthusiasm pretty quickly.


I agree that some of these trends are depressing. I don't like hybrids however. A diesal VW is a much better bargain. It'll still be rolling ten years from now and it won't have gotten crushed in traffic brake slamming contests because it's 1000 lbs too heavy.

D.C. is apparently getting ready to charge SUV owners an extrra $600/year in taxes and Va. and Md. might soon do likewise.

I can understand people in rural areas using SUVs when they actually need them, but I can't picture ANYBODY owning one as an only vehicle or driving it unnecessarily, particularly in traffic.

The guys who drive the things in traffic all seem to have attended the same driving school for that matter. Some day, I'm going to own a car particularly made for mashing tailgaters, i.e. hardened frame and rear bumper and racing brakes, and I anticipate bagging a lot of SUVs when that day arrives.
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Dec, 2004 08:18 am
One other thing, I have zero sympathy for these soccor moms who claim they need SUVs to haul kids around. The new D.C. tax is based on weight, and starts at 5000 lbs. A VW microbus at half that can haul four or five kids around easily, and sends fewer dollars into the hands of AlQuaeda.
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Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Dec, 2004 08:59 am
At the risk of being repetitive, here goes: I drive a Honda CR-V that gets 28 mpg hwy & 20 mpg in traffic.

Also, why not outright BAN vehicles during rush hour, particularly in urban traffic areas like LA, SF, Seattle, Phoenix, Wash. DC, Chicago, Houston and Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, Boston and Philly? Wouldn't that cut down on gas consumption, pollution, and congestion/road rage?

Whining Diatribe over our Government effectivity alert:

Why can't our government be more proactive and come up with more reasonable energy and transportation solutions. Perhaps more support for corporations to provide better gas-milage vehicles (even by promoting the use of lower pollution internal-combustion engines in their own gov't employee fleet)? Doing nothing except giving the energy industry conglomerates free reign is just NOT acceptable anymore (nor was it ever) due to the multiple fiascos in the Middle East.

But if the internal combustion vehicle gets phased out over time (as it should), why not do more to promote the hybrid NOW (w/ some legislative pressure and guidance)? Just providing a $2000 return to purchasers of Toyota Prius, as an example, is not enough.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Dec, 2004 09:10 am
gunga, I also have a problem with SUV tailgaters. It's as if they bought the car so that they could bully smaller cars out of their way.

However, I do like hybrids. They are the best idea we have so far. They are here now and they are a natural bridge toward a future electric car. They don't require a whole new infrastructure of special fueling stations, and they fit right into the existing sedan and compact car markets. The only problem with them so far is that there are not enough of them made to meet the demand.

As to traffic problems -- I am a big fan of public transport and using civil engineering and design to create more people friendly cities with better traffic flow and that support alternative modes of transportation. But I realize that not everybody sees that as a feasible solution.
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Dec, 2004 10:50 am
That's because the cities have already been built. Look at Boston and the big dig. How much over budget did that thing go? And they already had decent public transportation.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Dec, 2004 10:52 am
Yes but things that have already been built are re-designed all the time. There's always room for improvement -- but good design can sometimes take longer and be more expensive.
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Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Dec, 2004 11:08 am
The Big Dig is over budget because the politicians allowed Big Pigs to use it as a feeding trough. Sounds familiar in Boston to me. Planners always add 20-25% for graft in construction projects. In this case, the graft portion went over 50% and lawyers will be chasing this eruption of corruption down for decades.

Oh, how shocking!
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Dec, 2004 12:14 pm
The most major part of the solution to our traffic woes in my estimation is the possibility of using electrons in lieue of all the gasoline, oil, and rubber.

In a metro area like D.C. or Boston, there can't be more than 15% of the people who work for a living who actually need to be at any particular place more than about one day a week. Granted the average person is not organized enough to work from home, we COULD have neighborhood work centers which people walked to rather than driving to, with the necessary computers and networking capabilities to let most of the people do their jobs without jamming up the roads and highways.
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Dec, 2004 12:18 pm
FreeDuck wrote:


However, I do like hybrids. They are the best idea we have so far. They are here now and they are a natural bridge toward a future electric car. They don't require a whole new infrastructure of special fueling stations, and they fit right into the existing sedan and compact car markets. The only problem with them so far is that there are not enough of them made to meet the demand..


I say again, the VW diesal is a much better solution. Fuel mileage is about the same, the technology is 100+ years old and proven, and you don't have all the added weight and complexity. In metro traffic these days, you get situations in which everybody has to slam brakes on and, thanks to all the people driving vans and SUVs so that nobody can ever see more than two cars ahead, the only warning you ever get is seeing the brake lights go on in the car ahead of you. The LAST thing I'd want in that situation is a vehicle which was 1000 lbs heavier than it out to be because it had two engines and five or ten batteries.

Maintenance costs for the diesal down the road have to be significantly less than for a hybrid.
0 Replies
 
Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Dec, 2004 11:01 am
At this point we have no idea what maintenance costs for hybrids will be, since it's a new technology. Thus there's no reason to assume that they'll be worse than for diesels.

Re air quality: Are diesels that much better than gas-powered cars? I seem to recall that they may not be, but I could be wrong.

I'm all for research on electrons, hydrogen power, whatever. But let's not rule out anything right now. At the moment, hybrids look promising, and a lot of people are trying them. We'll see what shakes out down the line.
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Dec, 2004 11:12 am
I thought diesels were having trouble meeting emmissions standards because of the soot....
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Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Jan, 2005 01:49 pm
In USA, look at the quality of the diesel fuel as a partial explanation:

"There is no argument anywhere in the auto industry that more low-sulfur diesel fuels are needed to help bring cleaner, advanced, direct-injection diesel engines to market in the United States." -- "The Debate Over Diesel", by Warren Brown, Washington Post, September 6, 2002

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=
article&node=&contentId=A45702-2002Sep6&notFound=true

"One reason is the poor quality of diesel fuel sold in the US. A 1998 report on fuel lubricity worldwide found that diesel fuel sold in the US and Canada is some of the poorest quality fuel in the world. Fully 50% of the US fuel was found to be below the standards recommended by equipment manufacturers."

http://www.biodiesel.org/pdf_files/Lubricity.PDF

Big Oil has dragged it's feet in cleaning up diesel fuel in the US. Europe started producing cleaner, low-sulfur diesel fuel in 1990; the US plans to follow in 2006. And the new generation of clean diesels either can't meet the US emissions standards on the dirty US fuel, or they can't even use it. But they run just fine on biodiesel, with very low emissions.


Also, check out VW, Toyota, Ford (outside USA), and Opel diesel engine. It can be done cheaply and cleanly.

"Volkswagen AG is working on a novel 'engine-based' approach leveraging complex chemical and catalytic reactions to achieve the near-zero particulate emissions. And supplier and automaker R&D operations are running full-tilt to perfect prototype NOx-reduction technology like Toyota's promising Diesel Particulate-NOx Reduction (DPNR) catalyst, which also employs advanced chemical/catalytic processes to scrub out the last vestiges of diesel emissions nastiness..."


USA's Diesel Sales vs Europe:

Diesel engines power 37% of all new cars sold in Europe (62% in France), with the share predicted to rise to 45% by 2005 -- but fewer than 1% of new American cars have diesel engines.
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Jan, 2005 02:06 pm
""More Focus on Diesel", Sacramento Bee, June 1, 2001 -- In Europe, one of every three new cars sold today is powered by clean diesel technology and in the premium and luxury categories, over 70% are clean diesels. But in the US, light-duty diesels account for only about 0.26% of all new cars sold, with only slightly higher figures in the light-duty truck markets. It's completely understandable why clean diesel technology has such a high acceptance in Europe -- the engines provide more power, are more fuel efficient, are more durable, are extremely responsive with low-end torque, and have 30-60% lower greenhouse gas emissions."

http://www.dieselforum.org/news/aug_06_2001.html

Sacramento Bee
http://www.sacbee.com/
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