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Pain Point?

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  • kronykrony Posts: 110
    Ahh the government...take the recent fuel mileage legislation...

    Problem: The US uses too much oil.
    Solution: Require automakers to make vehicles with better mileage.

    So...if your goal is mileage...and we live in a capitalist society...raise gas taxes to put gasoline at $6/gal. Some thoughts:
    1. Drives behavior that you only buy a car with bad mileage if you a. need it or b. want it.
    2. E85 can be taxed less, if the desire is to push E85 (different discussion on whether that is right)

    Haven't we learned what happens when automakers produce vehicles not driven by the consumer?
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,510
    Until there is a crisis with lines and rationing, or doubling of fuel costs, we're only going to see incremental gains.
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    Decided to just get out of the long drive instead of buying a higher mileage car. Bought house that is 31 miles closer to work. Commute one way will go from 47 miles to 16 miles. That should save about 850 gallons a year for my work commute alone. In addition, the schools and shopping will be closer which may save another 400 gallons a year family wide. Will go back to driving my Silverado ext cab 4x4 which will use 2 gallons a day for the round trip to work. With gas at $3.15 a gallon that is $3-4000 a year of potential savings, not to mention the 80 minutes a day it took to drive those extra 62 miles and stop for a tank of gas every 3rd day. Can't wait for moving day.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,846
    Decided to just get out of the long drive instead of buying a higher mileage car. Bought house that is 31 miles closer to work.

    Congrats on the new house. Personally, I wouldn't move closer to work just to save on gasoline. I'd do it for quality-of-life issues, such as more free time, a house that suits me better, better neighborhood, convenience, etc. But it sounds like you're doing that anyway, and the shorter commute is just one of many benefits.

    I moved closer to work about 4 years ago. Commute went down from about 14 miles each way to 3.5. It would usually take me abut 25 mins to get to work, and 30 to get home. Now, in a worst-case scenario, it might take 10 mins to get to work, and 10 to get home. So even though my commute wasn't that bad to begin with, I ended up shaving off 105 miles of driving per week, not to mention picking up nearly three hours more of free time each week because of the shorter commute.
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    Thanks,
    There are always trades to make. Some things that will be lost are having acreage, change of schools, and proximity to long time friends. Gains will be worthy and gas savings is only one piece. 47 miles can be dangerous after long work day making safety near the top of the list. 80 minutes is a lot of time per day. I looked at work as a 6 day week where one day was driving extra miles. Wear and tear on cars caused time, money, and energy spent maintaining. New lawn to mow will be 1/5 the size of my current one.
    The new house is bigger, nicer and there is a convenience from being close to many places that are far away today. It took 3 years to decide on this and gas went from $1.60 to $3.15 during that time.
    I had a reasonable drive to work for 11 years prior, and I remember it as an easier, less stressful time.
  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    For me, I tend to live where I *want* to live, and just deal with the commute, and gas price. I use to live on a quarter acre, but now that I live somewhere with more land, I don't think I could ever go back to a small yard, and a neighboring house within spitting distance - at least not until I reach retirement age anyways. In my area, you have to move out to the sticks to find a decent chunk of land. I prefer a quiet home environment, and lack of traffic around my home, and am willing to pay the price of gas, and deal with a longer commute time to have this. My wife and I both commute 25 miles one way. That's just OUR preferance, and I don't blame anyone for doing what dave8697 did if he truly is happier overall.

    The one thing my wife and I did do was to buy fuel efficient vehicles. We didn't specifically go replace our cars with more fuel efficient ones, but instead did so as our previous cars needed replaced. My wife's daily driver, as well as mine both average 30 mpg for our commutes. What's interesting is that my wife has an '08 Mitsubushi Lancer, and I have an '02 Hyundai Elantra. Both of these cars seem to be as large as the 89 Honda Accord my father-in-law use to own back when we were dating - although I have never looked up interior specs to compare. I am 6'-0", and my wife is 5'-6", and both of these cars are comfortable drivers for us.

    A couple of years ago, we decided we wanted an SUV as a 3rd vehicle for traveling, and hauling our dogs, so we bought a 4 cylinder SUV that we put about 5,000 miles a year on. Even with the SUV, we get mid 20's around town, and high 20's on the hwy - and it's an automatic and 4wd.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854
    A year ago we were here talking about "pain points" and whether $4 gas would change the way we drive and the kinds of cars we buy or don't buy. Now that we've been through $4 gas I'm kind of leaning to the answer being a resounding "yes".

    The auto industry has hit its own pain point now and has to change as well.

    Even though gas prices are plummeting at the moment, have you permanently changed habits or not?

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,846
    Wow, hard to believe it's been a year! Personally, I don't think $4 gas changed my habits much, because I had already changed some habits once it hit $2 and started staying there on a consistent basis.

    Now that it's cheap again, I've noticed that a lot of people seem to be driving faster again. I wonder if people are going to start dumping their small cars and going back to bigger vehicles? If there ends up being a glut of small, economical cars on the market, prices might drop, and it might be a good time to snatch one up, in preparation for the next time prices rise.

    1-2 years ago, I had thought about what kind of car I would get, when my 2000 Intrepid finally kicks the bucket. I was thinking of something like a V-6 Charger, possibly an Altima V-6, or maybe a Saturn Aura with the 3.5. And I have to admit, when the Pontiac G8 first came out, I was tempted. But earlier this year, gas was "only" around $3.25 per gallon...once it hit $4, the G8 sort of slipped my mind!

    Back in 2007, I tried driving my uncle's '03 Corolla a few times, to see if I could tolerate something that small. I couldn't...at least, not that particular car, but that's not to say that the same would hold true for ALL small cars.

    Anyway, next time I need to buy a new car, it would probably be a 4-cyl Aura/Malibu or Altima. It just depends on my financial situation. I don't really drive that much anymore, maybe 5-6,000 miles per year, so while fuel economy is still a concern to me, it's not as big of a concern as it would be to someone who does a lot of driving.

    One big area where high fuel prices made me change, though, was in the home. Once home heating oil prices hit $5+ per gallon this summer, I broke down and made the decision to switch to a heat pump. Now that heating oil is down to around $3.00/gallon, it might take a long time to recoup my investment. But, at least I'll have central air conditioning now. And whole-house heat, as the old oil furnace didn't have vents upstairs...just whatever heat rose up through the stairwell. And I also got some electrical upgrades in the process, as it's an old house and some of the old wiring and the circuit breaker weren't adequate. So overall I'm satisfied. Plus, I know fuel prices aren't going to stay low forever!
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854
    Nope, fuel won't stay low forever. I'd say my driving habits have permanently changed a bit. I've always been a fairly fuel-efficient driver so it's not about driving technique. But I always try to combine trips or cut out a trip when possible now. And with kids involved sports, we parents are definitely looking to carpool as often as possible since we'll spend a lot of the winter driving all over the Commonwealth of PA.

    I'd say I see some "happy days are here again" types that are blasting around, but I think there's a lot less "racing to the next traffic going on.

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  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854
    In my little isolated corner of the world gas prices are holding at $2.17, but 90 minutes away it's under $1.80.

    Hope we avoid euphoria!

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    My habits were already semi-fuel-frugal before. The post-Katrina gas prices did chase the Toyota truck out of my driveway though.

    Point is, I think the fuel economy choices we have now suck. Everybody goes around saying "Wow! This one makes 30 mpg, that's excellent!". To them I say, no it's not, it's barely above mediocre. And the real sickening thing is all these carmaker ads playing now talking about their highway EPA ratings, which are not only low but also do not represent the mileage people will really get in their regular driving.

    So my point is, will the automakers learn their lesson properly this time and focus on fuel frugality from now on when they design new models, or will this be 1980 all over again? Because my choices in truly fuel efficient cars right now from ALL automakers are almost zero. It's 2008, the new century, let's get with it.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    "I don't really drive that much anymore, maybe 5-6,000 miles per year."

    In that case your Intrepid should serve your needs for a long time. That's unless you get tired of it, but it's my impression that, like me, you like to keep your cars until the wheels fall off. Well, okay, maybe not that long for your daily driver, but quite long, nevertheless.

    Sure, it's nice to have a new car, but in a way it's kind of a luxury to drive something that doesn't owe you anything.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854
    Point is, I think the fuel economy choices we have now suck. Everybody goes around saying "Wow! This one makes 30 mpg, that's excellent!". To them I say, no it's not, it's barely above mediocre.

    AMEN!

    I owned a string of 4 Nissan Sentras, an '81, '87, '91, '96, and now an '07 Versa and the mileage has just evaporated over time. All of them were 5 speed manuals. The '81 got me 48-50mpg combined and 54-55 highway. By the time the '96 came around, I was down to 36-38 mixed and 42-44 highway. My 6 speed Versa being heavier was getting me 32-34 mixed and 35-36 highway until ethanol rolled into town and those numbers have dropped by about 10%.

    Is there ANY reason we can't see those kind of numbers out of normal cars anymore?

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,846
    Is there ANY reason we can't see those kind of numbers out of normal cars anymore?

    I can think of a bunch of reasons. Weight, power, size, safety. A Versa weighs about 2700 pounds. Just to put it in perspective, the base weight of a 1968 Dodge Dart hardtop is 2715 pounds. And that's with a 475 lb lump of a slant six engine, and the extra bracing to make up for the lack of a B-pillar!

    In 1981 standards, 2700 lb would put you heavier than a Citation or K-car, maybe just below a Ford Fairmont, or about what an '82 Celebrity would start at. And I doubt if any of those were getting 35-36 mpg on the highway except in extreme circumstances.

    Your Versa would also be safer than any of them, with airbags, better side impact protection, more controlled crumple zones, etc. As for size, the 102.4" wheelbase puts it above the K-cars (100.3"), and not that far below the Citation (104.9) or Fairmont (105.6). At 66.7", it's around the same width as most of them, and what it lacks in length, it more than makes up in height.

    Speaking of height, I wonder if that might take its toll on fuel efficiency at highway speeds. At 60.4" tall, it's starting to blur the line between car and minivan! I'm sure it has a very low drag coefficient, but that height increases total frontal area, so I'm sure that has to be a drag.

    How much hp does a 1.8 Versa have? 122? I'm sure it would blow away most cars from 1981. Now if you have something cheap and small enough from 1981, it's going to be loud and buzzy enough that you're going to feel like you're going fast, even if you're not. But your typical 2700 lb car from 1981 isn't going to have anywhere near the performance of a Versa. Maybe a Chevy Citation X-11 with the fuel-injected V-6, but then you're not going to be getting 35-36 mpg on the highway, no matter how gently you drive it.

    Just out of curiosity, how are your driving habits on the highway? 35-36 does seem low. I was able to get 37.4 out of my uncle's '03 Corolla when I took it on a trip once. But the Corolla is a bit lighter, and not as tall as a Versa, so that might be enough to make a difference. I also drove it gently, staying around 55-60, maybe rarely getting up to 65-70, but always trying to accelerate as slow as safely possible.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Everyone seems to take the idea for granted that more power is a GOOD thing.

    If I had the choice for my commute car of car A that gets to 60 mph in 10 seconds and makes 45 mpg or car B that gets to 60 in 8 seconds and makes 36 mpg, I am going with car A without question.

    But that's the problem with all these cars today, and their sucky fuel economy. They are all much heavier and much faster than they need to be. And BTW, the weight problem is tied in to the speed thing, because a car that can go faster needs chassis improvements and wheel and tire upsizing to handle the extra speed.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,846
    Everyone seems to take the idea for granted that more power is a GOOD thing.

    If I had the choice for my commute car of car A that gets to 60 mph in 10 seconds and makes 45 mpg or car B that gets to 60 in 8 seconds and makes 36 mpg, I am going with car A without question.


    Point well taken, but compared to 1981, more power IS a good thing. Good Lord, some of those cars back in 1981 could take 20 seconds, sometimes more, to get from 0-60! More power IS good, up to a point.

    And nowadays, more power isn't necessarily going to hurt your fuel economy, at least not like it did in the past. Cars today are more like turbos in that respect, where you get the power when you need it, but at the cost of fuel economy. But when driven more gently, you'll get the economy. Back in the old days, if you had a strong engine, you got bad fuel economy no matter how gently you drove it!

    Power and the ability to go fast no doubt do add some weight to a car, but I'm still convinced that a lot of it is also because of increased rollover protection, better side impact protection, improved crumple zones, etc. And then there's insulation, which can add hundreds of pounds to a car. I'm sure modern cars have more of it in them than older ones did, in order to make them quieter.

    FWIW, it probably only takes 20-30 hp to move a small car along at a steady 60 mph anyway, so any modern engine is only using a fraction of its available power to do that. Therefore, I don't think making the engines smaller and weaker is going to help very much with fuel economy. Although it will irritate people when they actually NEED that power, such as for merging, passing, etc., or when they load up the car.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    All of that, plus those old cars with good fuel economy were much slower to accelerate (low horsepower and tall gearing), and had leaner air-fuel ratios than current emissions standards will allow.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Toyota is talking about releasing a 1.3L Yaris with about 10% less hp, 15% less torque. They are estimating it will make 15% better fuel economy. I would say that is good evidence that more power is in a fairly linear relationship with less fuel economy......

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,326
    Another former Sentra owner! I had an 87 before I drowned it. It was a slug but dependable as all get out, easy to work on and would get over 40 mpg on a trip.

    There's no way they shouldn't be able to produce a car now that gets that kind of mileage. Yes, the cars have gotten bigger and heavier but the technology has advanced.

    Do I like a car with a lot of zip? Sure, but not all of them have to have that.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854
    Never considered my Sentras to be sports cars, but they weren't slugs either. The base Focus I had as a rental in LA back in 2001, now THAT was a slug :shades:

    I agree 100%. What has happened to our perception of what "good mileage" is? Heck, my 1966 Chrylser Newport with the 383 V8 was getting 19mpg when it had 220,000 miles on it.

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