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Feb. 12th, 2004 | 01:27 pm

From Canada could be sustainable within a generation "Fuel efficiency standards for our vehicles are also straight out of the dark ages. It's simply bizarre that just one of the vehicles in Ford's new car lineup gets better fuel efficiency than Henry Ford's 1912 Model T."

That's pathetic.

Those pro-capitalist people keep talking about how capitalism rapidly develops new technologies, it sure seems like in the american auto industry is instead sliding backwards.

(Okay I know that's not fair Henry Ford couldn't have imagined air bags, and the modern car probably has far more power output that the model T. But the fitness measures that corporations use for their short term profitability are shall we say "short sighted".)

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from: irilyth
date: Feb. 12th, 2004 01:51 pm (UTC)

That quote is a great example of the fact that fuel efficiency isn't the only thing consumers care about. A motorcycle is vastly more fuel-efficient than a car, but no one cares, because motorcycles don't do what cars do. Similarly, Ford's original Model T was vastly inferior to modern cars in every other respect, so the fact that it's more fuel efficient doesn't matter to anyone.

Capitalist car companies give consumers what they want. Gas is plentiful and cheap, so consumers want cars that trade off fuel efficiency in exchange for other features (cargo capacity, power, safety, feeling of macho-ness, whatever).

You don't think that gas is plentiful, and you don't think that it should be cheap, but neither of those is up to auto makers. If gas supplies dry up tomorrow, or the price of gas increases by a factor of ten, every single auto maker will be doing one of two things: Making non-gas-powered cars, or going out of business.

Low fuel efficiency is a function of the price of gas; it has little if anything to do with the whims of capitalists or car makers.

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