CAFE Kills?

crash_test_landwind_25810The dark side of the fuel mileage argument in terms of imposing new restrictions on automakers is the fact that the struggle to meet ever-more stringent CAFE standards results in Americans driving around in smaller cars. Smaller cars are more dangerous, hence the popularity of SUVs with parents who preferred to trust the safety of their families to the hated (by pious Prius drivers) H2s and Tahoes that saw those Prii as so many speed bumps. Still, though it has largely been kept quiet, studies show that the impact of smaller cars being foisted upon American drivers over the years has resulted in perhaps over 1,000 deaths per year. Not a pretty stat, and even less pretty should word get out that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (The Government) is responsible. Oops. Worse, there is doubt that CAFE standards have even been successful in their stated aims to increase fuel economy. You doubt? Check out this excellent study done by Sam Kazman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The study is worth scanning, or reading in full if you have nerdy tendencies.

What will happen to America’s Auto Industry?

bailout_25_billion_gm_chrysler_ford The world has gone to hell in a hand-basket and frankly, the only thing that concerns me is guns and cars.  I’m just a simple 30 year old man from Texas, that’s really all we think about.  I’m married so I don’t need to think about girls, so firearms and fire-breathing engines are about the length of my thought train as of late.

I’m not going to bore you with the politics of firearms, we’ll leave that to a discussion on my personal blog (and we’ll do that later). Here I’d like to discuss what the hell is going to become of our dying auto industry. Now, for the record, I’m kind of biased towards the Blue Oval family of vehicles, however that doesn’t mean I don’t give credit where it’s due. GM (formerly General Motors-now known as Government Motors) does make one of the best V8 engines around. The LS series of engines is exceptional and I will never say anything to the contrary. Dodge makes some pretty nice looking cars and hasn’t been scared to put a concept into production, even for a few years to see how it would do. Ford…  Well Ford is just good ol’ Ford.

So, what in the world is going to come of our domestic auto industry?  I understand Fiat is purchasing controlling interest in Chrysler. AWESOME! Yeah, I said it… FRIGGIN’ OUTSTANDING! Fiat has revitalized marques which would otherwise be bankrupt and gone from our memories long ago, namely a small Italian car maker who’s creator was a little too interested in racing than building production vehicles.  You may remember ol’ Enzo Ferrari?  Fiat has owned Ferrari for years and keeps it alive by allowing it the luxury of tooling, processes, and money generated and perfected from their production line of general automobiles.  Fiat will breathe new life into Chrysler and I can’t wait to see it because, honestly, Chrysler’s quality sucks. I know I’m going to get ripped by the faithful of the blue star, but you have to admit when your dash begins to fall apart at 60,000 miles, there are some issues.

GM…Oh General Motors, what will become of you? I love the new ZR1. I love the new Camaro. I LOOOOVE the new Cadillac CTS-V. Where are you going and how long will you be gone? Roger Penske recently opted to purchase the Saturn line of automobiles. This is intriguing. Will he actually breathe some life into the Saturn line and make it cool? I mean, I went to the Austin Auto Show and saw the Saturn Sky before it was available and just about crapped myself in disbelief. “SATURN BUILT THIS!?” is all I kept repeating to the Saturn rep standing there.  Then they came out with the Redline version with the turbocharged Ecotec. WOW! Why is there no friggin’ aftermarket support for this vehicle-or the Solstice? These are cool little cars. I hope Penske picks up the Saturn AND Pontiac lines of vehicles. You’ve got enough money, go ahead and buy both, Roger! GM was going to kill the Pontiac family anyway; why not have them throw that in with the Saturn purchase?

Now, I’d love to hear some comments from you dear readers as to what you think of all this.  Are you scared or are you excited for the change? What kind of vehicles are you looking forward to and what vehicles are you scared will take over the marketplace? Personally, I am scared the world will be over-run with SmartForTwos and SUV’s. To be stuck with these extremes would truly suck. I do hope we see more affordable sports cars and I hope we get to see some interesting things with alternative fuels as well. Did you know LNG/Propane is 130 octane? Ethanol is 110 octane and Hydrogen, oh Hydrogen…that’s some good stuff right there.

Anyway, I hope this blog generates some discussion and some thought on the subject.