Terrorists Laugh as U.S. Dependence on Foreign Oil Deepens
2003 Cars Show Low Fuel Economy
A vital part of America's anti-terrorism strategy is to end U.S. dependence on foreign oil. But this pro-freedom policy has not been advocated by any significant number of mainstream politicians.
New automobiles being sold in the U.S. now are even less fuel-efficient than last year. The American auto makers seem to be in the grip of anti-American oil lords. Here are some interesting excerpts from an Associated Press report on a new summary of car fuel economy.
Average fuel economy 6 percent below what it was 15 years agoAverage fuel economy for those shiny new 2003 model cars headed for showrooms is down for the third consecutive year and now stands about 6 percent below the high point set 15 years ago. Among the highest achievers, the percentage of the new crop of vehicles getting more than 30 mpg drops to 4 percent from 6 percent a year ago. Only 33 of the 934 cars, trucks and vans listed in the 2003-model annual fuel economy statistics released by the Environmental Protection Agency are that efficient. That compares with 48 of the 865 models available last year.
In 1987 and 1988, when fuel efficiency technology was much less advanced, the fleet averaged 22.1 mpg -- compared to just 20.8 for the year 2003 models!
``Clearly it is disappointing that more than 15 years after fuel economy peaked, fuel economy is still hovering around an all-time low,'' said David Friedman, a senior analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists in Berkeley, Calif. ``And yet the technology is out there. We could be averaging close to 30 to 40 miles per gallon, and that's with conventional technology: nonhybrids, better engines, better transmissions, improved aerodynamics.''
This year, three hybrid gas- and electric-powered vehicles -- the two-seat Honda Insight coupe and five-seat Toyota Prius and Honda Civic sedans -- top the list of fuel pinchers. Last year there were only the Prius and the Insight.
The Insight has 64 mpg combined city and highway driving, the Toyota and Honda sedans 48 mpg. Next most efficient are four Volkswagen diesel cars and the Toyota Echo.
During the past year, terrorists clapped their hands in glee as Congress rejected by a wide margin any substantial legislated increase in fuel economy improvements.
Automakers are only required to meet fuel-economy standards set by Congress way back in 1975, and even then the rules apply for their entire fleet of models sold, not specific ones.
The required average is 27.5 mpg on fleets of new passenger cars and 20.7 mpg for those of light trucks, including pickups, minivans and sport utility vehicles.
Average fuel economy for the 488 cars in the 2003 fuel economy list is 23.6 mpg, marking a continued decline from 23.9 mpg for 2002 models and 24.2 mpg in 2001. For the 446 models or variations of SUVs, vans and pickup trucks, the average is 17.6 mpg, down from 17.9 mpg last year.
Among so-called midsize cars, the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Corolla Matrix report the best combined city-highway mileage of 32 mpg -- an increase from last year's 28 mpg performers. The worst in that category is, again, the luxury Bentley Arnage, which drops to a combined 12 mpg from last year's 13 mpg. All but seven other models get 20 mpg or better.
Two minivans from DaimlerChrysler - the Chrysler Voyager/Town & Country and Dodge Caravan -- have the best mileage, 23 mpg combined, in the passenger van category. The Chrysler Voyager has the worst at 14 mpg.
Big SUVs such as Chevrolet's Suburban, Avalanche and Tahoe and GMC's Yukon and Yukon XL get 12 mpg. The luxury sport import Lamborghini L-147 Murcielago is, again, the biggest guzzler, 10 mpg, followed by the Ferrari 456 MGT/MGTA automatic at 12 mpg.
For more on the EPA report, see: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/
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Why don't auto makers in the USA try to do what other auto makers all over the world have been doing for decades -- try to maximize fuel efficiency? Why don't auto makers want to be patriotic? Tell The Progress Report:
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