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Category: Consumer Action

Innovate, Baby, Innovate

Written By: Dave Rochlin | 3 comments | Join the Discussion

If car manufacturers were presented with a ten year challenge: to increase fuel efficiency by 20% on every car, do you think they could do it? I think they could...and quite easily I might add. For those with a more laissez-faire attitude, it is worth noting that automobile design is already highly regulated: from seat belts, to brake lights, to bumper design. These rules are all made in the name of safety. Air quality and climate change are massive health issues, so why not set some rules on fuel efficiency as well?

Meeting a 20% challenge would eliminate the release of two hundred million tons of carbon (!!!) into our air each year. It would also reduce our annual oil consumption by 600 million barrels, which is equivalent to four times the amount of oil that the new Alaskan oil fields would produce.

Unfortunately, industry often focuses on addressing symptoms (in this case the limited supply of oil and our dependency on sources from a few countries which don't like us all that much) rather than the underlying cause of the problem (we use a lot more gas than anyone else does).

Solutions to our oil dependency should focus on reducing demand. Even President Bush - a former 'oil man' - declared that we are addicted to oil. How can you help break this addiction? Drive less is an obvious answer....but if you can't drive less, make sure that next time you buy a car, or even simply rent one, you choose a higher mileage vehicle. Not only will you save some gas money (in many cases, a thousand dollars a year or more), you will send a strong signal to car manufacturers that mileage matters. Instead of "drill baby drill",it must be "save baby save."

Discuss This

  1. Bison Brewing posted on 02.24.09

    The 20% challenge should be to consumers..........spend 20% more on a car that is 100% more fuel efficiency and will last just as long, if not longer. Car makers won't really change until they see trucks and SUVs and muscle cars sitting on the dealer's lot while consumers put their money where their mouth is and by every high MPG car in stock. I'm excited to see “clean diesels” in the market nationwide from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen that meet California's highest emission standards. VW says a diesel engine in a Jetta will add $2500 to the cost of the car, AND a diesel engine will last at least 250,000 miles, and really, you can't get greener than that.

  2. Maxine posted on 02.11.09

    I heard that the technology is already available to create super-light cars which would get unbelievable gas mileage. NPR is always doing shows about ways to help environmentally. When it gets cost effective, big business will jump on the bandwagon. Too bad more businesses aren't leading the way instead of trying desperately to preserve the status quo.

  3. Co2Doggie posted on 02.09.09

    A 20% challenge: What a great idea! I saw the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car"....we should already be at 40 MPG ;-(

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Discuss This

  1. Bison Brewing posted on 02.24.09

    The 20% challenge should be to consumers..........spend 20% more on a car that is 100% more fuel efficiency and will last just as long, if not longer. Car makers won't really change until they see trucks and SUVs and muscle cars sitting on the dealer's lot while consumers put their money where their mouth is and by every high MPG car in stock. I'm excited to see “clean diesels” in the market nationwide from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen that meet California's highest emission standards. VW says a diesel engine in a Jetta will add $2500 to the cost of the car, AND a diesel engine will last at least 250,000 miles, and really, you can't get greener than that.

  2. Maxine posted on 02.11.09

    I heard that the technology is already available to create super-light cars which would get unbelievable gas mileage. NPR is always doing shows about ways to help environmentally. When it gets cost effective, big business will jump on the bandwagon. Too bad more businesses aren't leading the way instead of trying desperately to preserve the status quo.

  3. Co2Doggie posted on 02.09.09

    A 20% challenge: What a great idea! I saw the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car"....we should already be at 40 MPG ;-(

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