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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?

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Comments

  • I very much oppose the growing push for surveillance-based usage taxes (see Oregon and now Texas, of all places).

    I feel tracking is a bit too big-brother for me as well, but does that include those "fast-passes" for toll roads or the tap-to-buy-gas things?
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,577
    No, I'm talking about adding GPS units to cars to pay a per-mile fee where ever and when ever you drive. Oregon is pushing it because they aren't able to get agreement to increase gas taxes. I don't know if it has a chance of being adopted.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,325
    then why isn't it working over the past 20 years and why would anyone expect that over the next 20 years the gas tax will have any impact?

    Well, first, it was FAR less than 20 years ago that gas was 99 cents/gallon. I don't know what the tax rates were at that time, but they had to have been quite a bit less than they are now.

    Anyway, as I stated before when you posted this same opinion, the cost of gas IS having an effect, hence the popularity of subcompacts.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,855
    I'm old enough to witness "gas panic" from 1979. If gas prices go high enough, and especially if it becomes scarce enough, Americans will abandon big cars like cockroaches scattering when you turn the kitchen light on.

    I remember a really funny story about the "gas crunch". I was talking to a used car guy who owned a BIG lot in Denver Colorado. As we were chatting we heard sirens in the distance---lots of them.

    I said "I wonder what that is?"

    He didn't skip a beat: "Oh, those are Cadillac owners being rushed to the hospital after filling up their gas tanks and having their heart attacks".

    Cruel but true. For about 8-12 weeks there, people with big cars were practically giving them away to used car lots. You could buy a huge V-8 car for 50 cents on the dollar.

    Then it all settled down to "normal" again when everyone realized the world was not in fact going to end.

    Giving the price of gasoline NOW, the "panic" of 1979 seems tame in comparison.

    But back then the fear and the economic impact was real enough.

    Of course, I should add that in the "panic of '79" there was NO gas to be had--not quite the same as mere higher prices.

    MODERATOR

  • texasestexases Posts: 5,577
    Of course, I should add that in the "panic of '79" there was NO gas to be had--not quite the same as mere higher prices.

    That's the BIG difference. I was working at a gas station during the prior increases (not a popular guy), but the big changes happened with the '79 'panic', where you couldn't get gas. That's why charts comparing prices just don't capture what went on. Sure, gas is about $3/gallon now, but you can get all you can afford. Limit that to 10 gallons, say, and watch the Escalades drop!
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    That's the problem...doing nothing until the crisis occurs like in the '70s. This country always works on a crisis mentality...wait for the bridge to collapse before raising the gas tax to fix bridge is a perfect example. Why not just double the gas tax now and get everything fixed and at the same time reduce the gas usage.

    The problem is that most Americans wouldn't buy it...they need to have something in their face before agreeing to spend any money. It would be nice to try and prevent a crisis. That's why a rebate or at least a lot more information posted on the car about emmisions, gas usage, etc on car window might help a little bit. Or at least easier to swallow than doubling the gas tax, which I would be in favor of too.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,855
    I still think there is a "steady stream" of buyers drifting away from bigger cars to smaller ones (not necessarily subcompacts) and if there were the added panic of shortages the stream would become a torrent.

    The so-called "global economy" is much more fragile than some people would have you think. With such inter-connectedness, events halfway around the world can end up being manifested right on your corner gas station, in a red hot minute.

    Given the excellent resale value of most mainstream gas-sippers these days (you'll pay a premium for a high mileage VW TDI, MINI, Scion, etc) one has to suspect that there's a new consciousness in America about little cars.

    MODERATOR

  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    "I still think there is a "steady stream" of buyers drifting away from bigger cars to smaller ones"

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/05/20/MNG2NPU9FD1.DTL

    "Americans, however, are not shunning these beasts. Far from it. Auto industry figures show that after a two-year slump, sales of the gas guzzlers are up over 2006 -- in some cases, way up.
    The numbers for large SUVs rose nearly 6 percent in the first quarter of 2007, and the April figures were up 25 percent from April 2006, according to automakers' statistics provided by Edmunds.com, an automotive research Web site."

    Like I said, Americans have a crisis mentality. Gas prices jump and SUVs sales drop...for a little while. Then Americans get used to the high prices as being normal, so the behavior reverts back to the bigger-is-better mentality. So much for pure market forces...
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,577
    That Wall Street Journal article showed increasing small car sales, but forecast SUV sales were flat. So as a %, they're dropping, but the total numbers aren't. Doesn't look like total consumption can go anywhere but up.
  • cjshowcjshow Posts: 16
    All this gas talk back and forth is making me dizzy! Some of you on this forum need to take a breath and notice when posters are being sarcastic...

    My husband wrecked his Avenger (30 mpg) and got a Yaris (40 mpg). He's saving about $20/month in gas costs.

    I sold my Probe (25 mpg) and currently have no car (0 mpg) but am looking at possibly getting Yaris hatch or Scion xD (30-35 mpg). So I'd go from 0$/week to probably $4 since I'd only fill up once/month. I am that mythological creature that only drives her car once/week to go to the store ;)

    Either way, the benefits of having a small car aren't limited only to fuel cost:

    * Overall cost of car is less, making an affordable payment
    * Size of car easily fits in our garage, leaving room for a "lounge" at the rear of the garage for cooler, arm chair, and radio in addition to regular garage stuff (tools, lawnmower, shelving).
    * Small car is easier to maneuver through all driving situations--turning is sharper, small car is lighter and more responsive, etc.
    * We don't carry that much stuff in our cars. Yaris sedan trunk is huge, though. We've been on a $40/week budget for groceries for 2.5 years. That many groceries doesn't take up that much space in the trunk.
    * We usually drive with 1 or 2 people only.
    * If we have a baby a car seat will easily fit in the back seat. We're both short (5'2" and 5'6"), so moving front seats up is no prob.

    * Can't deny that the Yaris is darned cute. It smiles at us across the parking lot.
    * Yaris hatch is also cute, though a little on the "egg" side which may date it prematurely. xD styling is a little more edgy and modern, making it age more gracefully.

    That's all for now. Chill, CarSpacers!
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    "SUV sales were flat."

    Maybe...but the actuals are going up, unless the Edmunds stats are wrong. :P
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    I agree with your reasons 100%. We have a Fit with 2 kids in carseats in the back and we enjoy the same small-car benefits as you post above.
  • de77de77 Posts: 40
    I think most compact European cars have 1.3 Liter engines don't they? We just keep making our bigger and bigger
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    How is the fictitious driver conserving by burning 1.5 gallons/day, while my less fuel efficient car burns 1 gallon/day for the same purpose?

    When we talk conservation, perhaps we should worry more about how much we burn as opposed to what we drive to burn. For that reason, I see no reason to penalize a person for buying a family vehicle that is used, may be once a week for family affairs, while that person uses public transportation to commute.

    There is a reason a car like Fit is garnering respect. The reason is buyer recognition based on its strengths. But let us be real, it can't meet everybody's needs. And that need may be occasional or frequent.

    By imposing taxes based on static numbers based on assumptions, you're not really conserving anything. When gas prices go up, people reduce their wants and seem to tread closer to their needs. And there is no bigger "incentive" than that.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    "When we talk conservation, perhaps we should worry more about how much we burn as opposed to what we drive to burn. For that reason, I see no reason to penalize a person for buying a family vehicle that is used, may be once a week for family affairs, while that person uses public transportation to commute."

    So what do you propose...free bus passes for everyone? I'm looking at ways to reduce the gas consumption based on the current driving patterns in our society today. I'm trying to be a little realistic.

    Focusing on people who drive only once a week or take the bus won't encourage manufacturers to build more efficient vehicles, nor will it encourage the millions of non-bus riders or people the drive only once a week to buy them. I'm more concerned with getting millions of people to buy more efficient vehicles than penalizing the handful of folks that drive a big car once a week.

    "By imposing taxes based on static numbers based on assumptions, you're not really conserving anything."

    EPA MPG estimates are based on tests, not assumptions. And anytime a person decides to buy a more fuel efficient vehicle, you have conserved something. And it's more than just individual incentives, but about manufacturer incentives as well, for example making CAFE standards apply to minivans, trucks and SUVs.
  • So what do you propose...free bus passes for everyone? I'm looking at ways to reduce the gas consumption based on the current driving patterns in our society today. I'm trying to be a little realistic.

    How far is your commute?

    And anytime a person decides to buy a more fuel efficient vehicle, you have conserved something.

    Not if they start driving more.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,855
    The stats might be right but the conclusion might be wrong---probably is wrong I'd say. First of all, we don't know if SUV sales are driven by huge incentives, we don't know the regional data, and we don't know if this is a glitch or a sustained trend.

    I'd say if you went to the average showroom and asked, that huge SUVs are a harder sell right now than ever before.

    MODERATOR

  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    "And anytime a person decides to buy a more fuel efficient vehicle, you have conserved something.

    Not if they start driving more.
    "

    So you think if someone buys a car that gets better MPG, they're going to sell their house and move further from work? Or move further from their kid's school, or start driving to the grocery store more often? Let's be realistic.
  • So you think if someone buys a car that gets better MPG, they're going to sell their house and move further from work? Or move further from their kid's school, or start driving to the grocery store more often? Let's be realistic.

    I think a person has $X to spend...if they spend $X-Y on a car, they have $Y to spend on other things, like that vacation home, which is further away, or that boat, which uses fuel, etc.
    I also thing a person with a 'burban and a 3 mile commute is less harmful than someone with a Fit and a 40 mile commute. That would show up with a tax based on usage, such as a gas tax.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I'm looking at ways to reduce the gas consumption based on the current driving patterns in our society today. I'm trying to be a little realistic.

    The moment you pick static numbers (not dynamic), you lose sight of reality. Do you think my cars get me EPA rated mileage? If they don’t, what could be the reason? And give me a good reason that I should be okay to be subjected to taxes based on something I don’t experience.

    EPA ratings are based on assumptions. The assumptions that people drive at a set acceleration rate, to set speeds and have a defined braking style. These assumptions also leave room for automakers to engineer vehicles to excel in EPA ratings but one may never see it translate in real life. Give me a reason why a car that is EPA rated 26 mpg but gets 23 mpg be given a break over a car that gets 26 mpg and is rated 23 mpg. And I’m ignoring miles driven for now.

    Doesn’t it make sense to see the difference at the pump than to come up with differences based on window sticker?

    if someone buys a car that gets better MPG, they're going to sell their house and move further from work?

    It is quite possible that living closer will be less of an incentive with higher fuel economy car, and something else might get higher priority, like finding a better, less crowded locality. Getting a higher fuel economy vehicle makes sense if it is by choice.

    In fact, it might also reduce the incentive to live close to public transportation grid. Given a choice, people prefer to be on their own. If it costs me $1 to take a train and spend a few minutes on the platform versus $1.25 to get the same job done in a car, why wouldn’t I drive instead?
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    So then you don't think that just because a person buys a car with better MPG that they're going to start driving more, so then there will be less gas consumed.

    Since I have more $$ to spend on other things now that I've bought my small car, how am I going to tow the boat that I'm supposed to buy ;) So maybe I'll have to buy a vacation home with the money from the hypothetical rebate I got from buying a Fit!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,855
    You don't need a boat...you just need to suck up to someone who owns a boat. :P

    MODERATOR

  • texasestexases Posts: 5,577
    Or a motorhome, or a beach/lake house, or ....
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    "And give me a good reason that I should be okay to be subjected to taxes based on something I don’t experience." Because you made the free choice of buying the vehicle with poorer MPG. The rebate to gas guzzler tax would have to be based on some standard, not on individual driving habits. We're going to assume that the Yaris owner isn't going to put a brick on their gas pedal every night just to burn gas because he got a rebate.

    "Give me a reason why a car that is EPA rated 26 mpg but gets 23 mpg be given a break over a car that gets 26 mpg and is rated 23 mpg" Because right now it's the best test out there. Some cars may do better or worse then the EPA estimates, so the chance of a person getting a car that does better is just as likely as the chance a person getting a car that does worse than the EPA standards. You have to have a line somewhere, and there will always be a few complainers right in the gray areas.

    "Doesn’t it make sense to see the difference at the pump than to come up with differences based on window sticker? " That's like saying, "Don't show me the calories on the boxes of anything I eat...I'd rather wait until I see it in my bigger stomach!" I'd say it makes more sense to see on the sticker BEFORE you see it on the pump. Why are you afraid of extra information on the window sticker? Will it make you feel a little more guilty or something?

    And I'm all for encouraging public transportation for those that have the option. But that doesn't change my views on encouraging folks to buy more efficient vehicles.
  • So then you don't think that just because a person buys a car with better MPG that they're going to start driving more, so then there will be less gas consumed.

    Or maybe they will with all that new found discretionary income they have from getting 40 mpg instead of 34 mpg. They can use that lower purchase price for road trips, as long as they pack light.

    So maybe I'll have to buy a vacation home with the money from the hypothetical rebate I got from buying a Fit!

    Ah yes, and then you can use the money you save to drive there and back. :blush:
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    This is probably the same opposition when the first income tax was proposed!
  • This is probably the same opposition when the first income tax was proposed!

    No, they are fundamentally different. Income tax is used to generate capital to provide services on the federal, state, and local level. You are talking about a penalty to give people a spanking for purchasing a vehicle you deem unworthy.

    Luxury tax was another poor idea executed badly (punitive tax), ruining the domestic boating industry (and ruining the economy of several east coast towns), hurting sales of high end vehicles, etc.

    "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    You have an interesting take on choices. In your opinion, I would be smarter to pick a car whose window sticker showed 26 mpg but got 23 mpg than getting a car that showed 23 mpg but got 26 mpg. Choices aside, it clearly shows a complete disregard for conservation. You prefer chance, I prefer reality.

    It is fine if you draw a line using numbers from a standard. To me it is simply an arbitrary number as it doesn’t reflect the reality. If it were the reality, I couldn’t take a car and get different mileage from it. Even better, I could take a car and engineer it to get different mileage from it but using that standard that is your argument’s lifeline.

    That's like saying, "Don't show me the calories on the boxes of anything I eat...I'd rather wait until I see it in my bigger stomach!"

    Good example, as it actually helps make my point. Your stomach will grow not based on what is written on the carton, but based on how much you consume. The former is a static measure that you are relying on. The latter is the reality.

    In case you’ve missed it, I’m not opposing the idea of conservation. In fact, quite the opposite, and we’re on the same page. However, where we differ is your reliance on chance based on an arbitrary number taken from a standard that can be fiddled with. I am sticking with the reality.

    It is never a good idea to force people to make choices that few things they must. This is not how smaller cars have regained some respect. Can’t you see that?

    PS. On the boat thing. Don't you think they are among the worst offenders when it comes to oil consumption?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    So I'd go from 0$/week to probably $4 since I'd only fill up once/month. I am that mythological creature that only drives her car once/week to go to the store

    I'd buy a year or two old vehicle in your case then. It's not as if the miles you put on it will add up fast.

    Look into a 2-year old car, you can buy more car for the $. At the Honda dealership near my house, they have a Malibu Maxx LT (a midsize V6 car, 23,000 miles, 2006 model) for $12,990 (would probably take $12k). That is a LOT of car for the dough. For as little as you drive, the extra gas you'd use (20/28 vs 27/33) is very negligible for a small amount of driving. Also, buying that $13k midsize buys a heavier, (likely safe), more sturdy automobile to haul the babies in. :)

    Just a thought from someone on the outside looking in. :)
  • Yeah I was going to add that into the post and then my hard drive crashed. :mad: :cry: :sick:
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