Shortfalls of the Energy Bill: Gas Mileage

Friday, July 29, 2005

In a time when gas and oil prices are ever increasing, and with the administration set to drill in Alaska in order to "limit our dependence on foreign oil", why does the new energy bill not address gas mileage? I believe if the administration honestly cared about limiting our dependence then there would be a bigger push for more compact cars, hybrids and alternate fuel automobiles. Why in this day and age would the auto industry and the administration, for that matter, push people to buy SUVs?

For all cars manufactured in 2004, the average miles per gallon is 20.8. This number is down from the record high, 22.1 miles per gallon, for cars manufactured in 1988. Why then in the last 16 years have we been going backwards? This is not only bad for our pocketbooks, but we are growing more dependent on foreign oil in sharp contrast to what the administration wants.

It gets worse. The model T Ford, invented in 1908, managed to get 25 miles to the gallon. Compare that to the Ford Explorer which manages a pathetic 16 miles per gallon! I believe we are actually becoming more dependent on oil and gas, and maybe that's extacly what Bush and his Texas oil buddies want. It makes it easier to find an excuse for going to war. If this isn't the reason, then why? Why are we going backwards as the oil and gas becomes more sparse? Why in a world where we can put man into space, have we managed to produce cars that get 4.2 miles per gallon less than a car that was made in 1908?

To make this all worse, the miles per gallon number that is on the sticker of the car or quoted by the maker/dealer is not the actual number a driver will receive. It appears the government (EPA) uses emission testing procedures to determine the gas mileage of a car, and not real-life driving. Because of this, drivers only actually achieve about 75% of the miles per gallon that is listed on the sticker.


Jay Denari said...

Hi, Jason,

The whole mileage thing is a joke. The only excuse for why we don't now have most cars getting 50+ mpg is oil company greed (the same reason public transit is generally terrible except in a handful of big cities).

I think hybrid & alterna-fuel cars are a great idea and hope to be able to buy one in the near future, but they need to be far better promoted (at the federal level, with real tax breaks for buyers NOT for the companies) and the infrastructure needs to be improved to suit them. That's not likely to happen anytime soon.

Have you noticed that recent ad campaigns from Ford and other companies offer discounts on their SUVs... but the fine print specifically excludes hybrid versions? It should be the other way around.

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