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  • Re: I spotted an (insert obscure car name here) classic car today!

    Do you like me, dread college-football season and going to a big gathering where that's all that is talked about? If so, you MUST be my brother-from-another-mother! LOL Very few of us out there!
    Maybe not so few, as I share your interest in cars and disinterest in sports too.
  • Re: Is Tesla A Game Changer?

    Well it's very common for governments to subsidize new technologies that they want to see developed in the marketplace, both for domestic and international trade. I suppose the idea is that if you want to get on Tesla's Gravy Train you have to invest in the company. Why Tesla gets all this help with no payback is another issue.
    There are a lot of things that are common for reasons that don't represent the best allocation of resources. The government didn't subsidize Henry Ford or Thomas Edison, for example, or, as far as I know, Apple, Microsoft or Google, for that matter.

    I'm not saying the government should never subsidize development of a new technology, but I favor subsidies for basic research (e.g. NIH [The National Institutes of Health]) over having the government pick commercial enterprise winners and losers.

    What's not clearly understood by many citizens is that government subsidies are ultimately paid for by tax payers, in one form or another. Sometimes government subsidies of private companies and industries yields good results, but more often than not talented people who have skin in the game, and have a clear understanding of of their business, goals and risks, allocate resources more effectively that bureaucrats.
  • Re: Your Thoughts Regarding The New EPA Mileage Mandate

    "Based on the agencies’ draft assessments, the reduced operating costs from fuel savings over time are expected to far exceed the increase in up-front vehicle costs, which should mitigate any potential adverse effects on vehicle sales and affordability."

    The increased up-front cost can be further mitigated by greater use of longer term loans or leases, in addition to the fuel savings. I think it's risky to go out beyond 84 months, but you'll probably see a greater proportion of 60, 72 and 84 month loans, and correspondingly longer leases, than you do today. Of course, that'll impact new vehicle sales negatively, which will increase per unit costs and reduce profitability.

    Maybe a reasonable compromise would be to extend the timetable for 54.4 by, say, three years, while increasing the the mileage standard in the interim.
  • Re: Your Thoughts Regarding The New EPA Mileage Mandate

    The new Civic is getting great press for those same reasons. Fun to drive yet it's getting hybrid or diesel mpg.
    Yes, and the new Civic has moved up in size by the EPA measure from "compact" to "midsize" at the same time. Since, as mentioned, CAFE no longer rewards downsizing, the 2016 Civic is already close to meeting the standards for a "midsize" car in 2025.
    Yes, but the new Civic is low, height wise, for a sedan, making entry and exit more difficult than the previous generations. That's my main gripe. Also, I'm not crazy about the styling; to my eyes they tried to hard.

    I hope they don't reduce the height of the next Accord.
  • Re: Your Thoughts Regarding The New EPA Mileage Mandate

    There's no doubt that CAFE is one of the main drivers for engineering improvements in vehicles these days, just as CAFE was also a driver for engineering changes back in the late 1970s and 1980s.

    As an example from the olden days, one of the most radical changes at GM back then was the shift in 1984 to 1985 from the body-on-frame, rear wheel drive, V-8 powered Oldsmobile 98, which was driven by a 3-speed transmission, to the 1985 98, which was a unibody front-drive car powered by a 6-cylinder engine and a 4-speed transmission. I used to own a 1988 Olds 98, and it was a great car in its day.

    With all of those changes, the 1985 Oldsmobile 98 lost about 900 pounds in weight compared to the 1984 model, and yet it accelerated faster and had almost as much interior room. And in terms of mileage, the EPA combined numbers went from c. 16 all the way to c. 20. That may not sound very impressive, but it's a 25% improvement.

    Mainly because of low gas prices, CAFE standards were stagnant from 1985-2010. In that 25 year period mpg standards for cars did not change one bit. But as gas prices rose a decade ago, and concerns about global warming increased, even President Bush started to move toward a substantial increase in CAFE before he left office. And then President Obama, of course, got enacted a much more aggressive increase in CAFE, although at 36 mpg on the sticker by 2025 it's not nearly as radical as all of the "54.5 mpg" headlines make it seem.

    How that change affects vehicles can be found in microcosm in my last car, a 2008 Accord rated at 24 mpg combined, and my 2016 Accord, which is rated at 31. That's a healthy 29% increase in mpg, very much like what GM achieved for the Olds 98 back in the mid-1980s. To get there the car has lots of little weight saving measures, a more advanced direct-injected engine, CVT transmission, better aerodynamics, etc.

    And in just a year, the next all-new Accord is going to be introduced for the 2018 model year. The 2018 Accord is going to have a completely new architecture that will probably reduce weight by another c. 150 pounds or so, it will also have an all-new turbo 1.5 to replace the VTEC 2.4, a revised CVT, etc.

    But getting improvements in mpg gets more challenging as you go higher, especially if you're trying to improve safety and performance at the same time.

    Still, my guess is that the 2018 Accord might be rated as high as 33 mpg combined. If the Accord keeps to a 5-year design schedule that would mean the next all-new Accord after that would be coming out for the 2023 model year. Although it's not quite clear how they will get there, by then a midsize car is supposed to be getting close to 36 mpg. Seems tough but doable.
    I bought a well maintained 1985 Olds 98 Brougham in 1988, with ~31,500 miles on it. I agree that it was a very nice car for its day. The main weak spot was the transmission, which was replaced the first time by the original owner (under warranty) at about 25,000 miles. I replaced the second one at about 130,000 miles. I knew the transmission was a point of weakness on the '85s-'87s, so I changed the fluid every 30,000 miles, and didn't abuse it. When it gave out for the third time at 154,000 miles, I drove it to the junk yard, figuring that the car owed me nothing at that point.

    That car was luxurious, rode and handled well for its day, and was space efficient.