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lemming
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 9:54 pm    Post subject: Pollution Reply with quote

Split from Irritating new habit -- kanuslupus

SUVs are a pet peeve of mine.

90% of the people who have them don't need them. The only good their doing is chugging through the rest of the oil supplies so that we have to use cleaner methods. :evil:

Well, maybe. The ones that bug me the most are the ones who see a speedbump and slow down to 5 mph. And we do not have severe speedbumps in Oregon.

I say haul them out of their SUVs and give them a scooter for replacement.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uh oh... do we need an "SUV: Vehicle for Satanspawn? Discuss." thread? Please, no wagering.
lemming wrote:
90% of the people who have them don't need them.
90% (or more) of the people that purchase vehicles don't buy what they "need".

Quote:
The only good their doing is chugging through the rest of the oil supplies so that we have to use cleaner methods.
Good thing we have them, otherwise we'd be relying on liquid dinosaur bones for eons. ;)

Quote:
The ones that bug me the most are the ones who see a speedbump and slow down to 5 mph.
SUVs are not immune to needing alignments.

What gets my panties in a wad, is that the tiny-sorry-excuse-for-transportation-vehicles are more prone to sustaining major damage in accidents, so SUV insurance goes up. Why? Because they figure they can get money out of them as opposed to those driving the $0.25 gumball machine crap. I was disappointed that Ford put the anti-drive-over-small-car bar on the Excursion.

By the way, I drive a POS Honda Civic, not an SUV.

*gets off soapbox and picks it up* Hrm... would be handy to have an emoticon for that...

EDIT: Moved part of my post to the "habbit" thread this spawned from.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lemming wrote:
The only good their doing is chugging through the rest of the oil supplies so that we have to use cleaner methods.


Don't all American cars use extreme amounts of fuel. It's a trademark. well feul is very cheap in the US.

It's also a trademark of the US, being one of the most poluting countries in the world, to not care for nature if it stands in the way of wealth.

Maybe if they all got some more fuel efficient cars they wouldn't even have to worry so much about the oil supplies in the middle east, and could even safe some money on wars, but well that ain't good for the weapon industry.......... I'm probably beating around the Bush

Cya lX.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2002 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It's also a trademark of the US, being one of the most poluting countries in the world, to not care for nature if it stands in the way of wealth.

Really, could you show me some sources for your claim that the U.S. is one of the most polluting countries in the world? I would think Mexico is a lot worse, for instance.
Quote:
Maybe if they all got some more fuel efficient cars they wouldn't even have to worry so much about the oil supplies in the middle east, and could even safe some money on wars, but well that ain't good for the weapon industry.......... I'm probably beating around the Bush

Let me explain to you how the U.S. works. Here in the U.S. we believe in "freedom" (at least to an extent more than almost anywhere else). Rather than force our citizens to conserve fuel by outrageously taxing it, we give people the choice to drive a fuel-efficient car or a gas guzzler. If a person feels strongly against a dependence on oil, they can drive an economy car or whatever, plus persuade others to do the same. This is social pressure, rather than political force, which I believe is a better system.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2002 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lx wrote:
Don't all American cars use extreme amounts of fuel. It's a trademark. well feul is very cheap in the US.


Actually, the MPG isn't that far off of some European models. In some ways we have stricter pollution controls over here. However, we also tend to drive further distances. I don't think much about driving to San Francisco occasionly. (700 miles) When I was in England near the end of my working there, my wife and I were going to do a road tour and one part was going up to Scotland. It amazed me how many people hadn't been.

lx wrote:
It's also a trademark of the US, being one of the most poluting countries in the world, to not care for nature if it stands in the way of wealth.


I wouldn't say that's the trademark of the entire US. Maybe of the current administration. Let's just say I don't want to get into a political debate.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2002 7:50 pm    Post subject: Pollution Reply with quote

I'd suggest to split this thread for the topic "Pollution".

BTW, do you remember which countries signed the Protocol of Kyoto? (don't know if I spelled it right, Japanese fellows may correct it). Maybe it is a good clue about which countries have concerns about pollution and which countries don't....


EDIT -- corrected Kioto
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2002 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless I misunderstood something, the Kioto treaty put an excessive burden on the U.S. I think the U.S. should have a much better environmental policy, but I don't think it should happen overnight, or with excessive burden.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2002 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Kyoto treaty was wildy unfair to the US. It was voted down unanimously in the senate, which includes a few tree-hugger types. I _would_, however, be in favor of a FAIR treaty. Kyoto was widely believed in some circles to be a socialist plot to redistribute US wealth to other nations. I used to think that was paranoid. ...used to... I'm not in favor of the environmental non-policy of the current administration, but signing a treaty that would be destructive to the economy while simultaneiously doing nothing significant to help the environment is foolishness.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2002 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

carlivar wrote:
Rather than force our citizens to conserve fuel by outrageously taxing it, we give people the choice to drive a fuel-efficient car or a gas guzzler.

This would be reasonable if gasoline prices fully reflected all indirect costs incurred in the extraction and processing of the fuel. This includes all environmental damage mitigation (on all drilling, extraction, transportation, and usage), cost of wars fought over oil, health hazard costs associated with all facets of the process, including effects on people living nearby to refineries as well as things like the MTBE fiasco we have here in -fornia where an additive that was required to reduce emissions is polluting groundwater.

Taxation policy is the only sensible and feasible way I know of to try to factor some of these indirect costs in. Without it, the marketplace is distorted, and simply calling it "free" does not make it so.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If solving those problems through taxation were the real goal of the tax, then I might agree. Too often, taxes are levied in the name of something, only to never benefit from it.

Anyone recall the "lawsuit" that states one against Tobacco companies? Any idea how much of those dollars went toward the "education" and other programs they were supposed to? Very little. Oh, and yes, I think that particular lawsuit was a tax.

Unless there is a federal tax of $3-4/gallon that is REQUIRED to be spent on those problems addresed by consumtion of fuel, then I'm not buying any arguments that the tax would go towards those areas.

Also, I'm unaware of any viable alternative to fossil fuels at this point. Electric cars are a joke. Hybrid cars arne't functional in my opinion. Diesel should be outlawed because of "smell pollution" (yes, I know its said to be cleaner). I'm sure the "fuel-cell" cars aren't as environmentally friendly as they are purported. Yes, I'm skeptical.

When a technology can equal or surpass what we have in the combustion engine with fossil fuels, then I'll consider them a possibility. One musn't forget the infrastucture that exists to support current vehicles either.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kanuslupus wrote:
Unless there is a federal tax of $3-4/gallon that is REQUIRED to be spent on those problems addresed by consumtion of fuel, then I'm not buying any arguments that the tax would go towards those areas.

While I agree that it would be good public policy to indeed spend the money this way, macroeconomics doesn't require it. The "optimal" amount of consumption of good X is achieved when the price of X fully reflects all direct and indirect costs incurred in the production of X. That's all.

If you levy massive fines for pollution on firms that burn coal to make electricity, and they can afford to pay those fines, and pass the amount of the fines on in the price of electricity, then everything's OK. Some company will figure out "hey, before we had to pay fines, we were making a lot of money, and now we can either pay a fine or spend the money on those eggheads over there in R&D that are improving solar panels". It makes investment in alternative technologies more attractive.

If you overtax something, by making the taxes higher than the true direct and indirect costs, then it's punitive. My econometric training is very rusty, I have no epidemiology, and I haven't studied the issue, so I can't address where cigarette prices are on that curve. I don't understand how teenagers can afford to smoke, with prices pushing $5 per pack in -fornia and in NY. They're still about US $2 per pack in Japan, a price which has remained virtually stable for at least 10 years.

Quote:
Hybrid cars arne't functional in my opinion.

Toyota is betting the future of their company on them.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rac wrote:
If you levy massive fines for pollution on firms that burn coal to make electricity
Then customers will pay the price in higher utility bills. People don't have to consume the amounts of electricity they choose to.

Quote:
If you overtax something, by making the taxes higher than the true direct and indirect costs, then it's punitive.
Correct.

Quote:
Toyota is betting the future of their company on them.
Yes. Just one more reason there won't be a Toyota in my driveway. I certainly agree that in order for hybrid vehicles to be economical (from a manufacturing standpoint), they have to be profitable. The current state of hybrids do not meet the requirements of many drivers. I'm not convinced the Prius has given Toyota the magical answer. That said, I don't think their customer base will change significantly. The customers they lose will be offset by those interested in the Hybrids.

I also don't think the government (at any level) should be able to dictate what a manufacturer will produce. I've not heard alot about it, but I'm guessing Toyota's change in this direction is strongly influenced by California's law requiring X number of ULEVs (or whatever low-fuel-consumption acronm they're calling it now) to be sold each year. Sounds similar to the European decision to mandate GSM.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kanuslupus wrote:
rac wrote:
If you levy massive fines for pollution on firms that burn coal to make electricity
Then customers will pay the price in higher utility bills. People don't have to consume the amounts of electricity they choose to.

You lost me here. Yes, people will have higher utility bills. Their utility bills (in places where coal is a major electricity source) would be unnaturally too low without the fines. It's like the transfer we have now thanks to our -fornian governor's inept handling of our energy "crisis" where taxpayers subsidize electric consumers (and crooked producers, but that's another story). Taxpayers have to pay to clean up coal pollution, and even if they conserve electricity, that tax burden is not decreased. Putting the tax as closely as possible on the polluting good introduces the least amount of inefficiency and unfairness in the system.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps I misunderstood what you meant.
rac wrote:
Some company will figure out "hey, before we had to pay fines, we were making a lot of money, and now we can either pay a fine or spend the money on those eggheads over there in R&D that are improving solar panels".
This made me think that the burden would be on the producer. If they pass the cost onto the customer, then wouldn't they still have the same profits?
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kanuslupus wrote:
Perhaps I misunderstood what you meant.
rac wrote:
Some company will figure out "hey, before we had to pay fines, we were making a lot of money, and now we can either pay a fine or spend the money on those eggheads over there in R&D that are improving solar panels".
This made me think that the burden would be on the producer. If they pass the cost onto the customer, then wouldn't they still have the same profits?

Yes, but if company A takes that route and company B takes the "spend the money we would have to pay on fines on R&D" route, for some value of the fine amount F, company B will be able to undercut company A, and if there is real competition and no barriers to switching, A would only be able to pass on a portion of F to customers, or else they would lose their customers to B. Ratepayers would get stuck with some portion of F, but taxpayers would also not have to pay as much to clean up the pollution (and other stuff like wars and eventual scarcity) because a higher portion of their energy comes from clean, renewable sources, which compensates for it. Consumers who conserve energy do better under this plan than those who do not.

The method of implementing schemes like this that I'm most familier with is using "pollution credits", which are allocated to companies based on some historical data. The companies are then free to buy and sell these credits. If you don't buy enough pollution credits to match your pollution output, you get shut down or fined by the regulators. Therefore, companies can choose to buy up credits and continue to pollute, or sell credits and reduce pollution. Sellers of credits get money from the buyers that they can use to finance research and conversions. The market is free, in the sense that companies can choose to be anywhere on the continuum they want to be, and the price of pollution credits fluctuates as the demand for them changes. As alternative fuels become relatively cheaper, the price of credits will drop, and good schemes probably take that into account, by restricting the overall credit supply over time.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That makes more sense. I was under the impression R&D was above and beyond fines.

Even with this method, it essentially forces a company's hand. However, I don't think it really gives the companies a choice; just time. The drive is artificial, and not really by demand. In the long run, this is better than nothing.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kanuslupus wrote:
Also, I'm unaware of any viable alternative to fossil fuels at this point. Electric cars are a joke. Hybrid cars arne't functional in my opinion. Diesel should be outlawed because of "smell pollution" (yes, I know its said to be cleaner). I'm sure the "fuel-cell" cars aren't as environmentally friendly as they are purported. Yes, I'm skeptical.


Hybrid cars have proven themselves to be perfectly functional IMO- have you driven in one? Yes, they're a new technology and not all the kinks have been worked out, but if I was buying a new car I'd probably buy a hybrid. Fuel cells need a lot of work, but they may turn into something useful in the future.

Diesel engines are more efficient and less polluting per horsepower than standard engines. So yes, the diesel engine in some monster SUV or a 20 year old school bus will cause more pollution than an Accord but it's not a reasonable comparison.

I'm actually not very worried about making an alternative car for the future. We already have plenty of great options that will just need a little time. What we don't have is anything even approaching a replacement for aircraft. In 50 years or so it's looking like the only way for an average businessman or vacationer to get from New York to Paris is on a boat.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kanuslupus wrote:
Yes. Just one more reason there won't be a Toyota in my driveway.

Not even giving it a chance, eh? I'm in a market for a new car, and a Prius is one of the possibilities at the top of my list. I've heard nothing but positive raving about this car. A friend of mine rented one for a weekend when he was on vacation, and he still hasn't stopped talking about it.

Hybrids will be everywhere in a few years. GM will be buying hybrid engines/drivetrains from Toyota. There are already mini-van and SUV hybrids in the pipe, probably sports cars too.

pigeon wrote:
Hybrid cars have proven themselves to be perfectly functional IMO- have you driven in one? Yes, they're a new technology and not all the kinks have been worked out, but if I was buying a new car I'd probably buy a hybrid. Fuel cells need a lot of work, but they may turn into something useful in the future.

Considering all the new technology in the Prius, it's shockingly kink-free. Atkinson-cycle engine, CVT transmission and a hybrid drivetrain all in one! However, if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on series hybrids working out better than parallels in the long run (though parallels like the Prius will work out better in the short term.)
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

y'all hybrids still burn the same amount of gas. They don't idle, so less pollution, but they have to burn more gas when moving to regharge the fuel cells. Even electric cars use fossil fuel indirectly. When you rechrge them you're putting a strain on the coal powerplants that power your house.
IMO, the car will always burn gas.
/me remembers i need gas.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some hybrids can use the energy when you break to charge batteries.


gsfgf wrote:
y'all hybrids still burn the same amount of gas. They don't idle, so less pollution, but they have to burn more gas when moving to regharge the fuel cells. Even electric cars use fossil fuel indirectly. When you rechrge them you're putting a strain on the coal powerplants that power your house.
IMO, the car will always burn gas.
/me remembers i need gas.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pigeon wrote:
Hybrid cars have proven themselves to be perfectly functional IMO- have you driven in one?
To clarify, by functional, I wasn't intending to suggest that they wouldn't move down the road. No, I have not driven one.

I have been reading about them since Honda/Toyota first announced them. After reading alot of reviews, and comments from owners, I have decided the vehicles currently offered are not "functional" for what I expect out of a $20k+ car. One comment in particualr mentioned that one of them (Hybrid/Insight) was useful for "around town" driving and the other was more useful for "highway" driving. I forget which was which, but the guy traded off which of the two he drove with his wife. Sounds like $40K to get one car. Granted, this was just one opinion (two, if you count his wife).

The storage capacity in the Insight is a joke. Both have extremely narrow wheels (to help with fuel consumption) which tend to "track" along grooves in the pavement. In a normal Civic, this is bad enough... I don't need it to be worse with narrower wheels. Road noise is also too high. If all I wanted in a car was the most environmentally friendly option available, I would buy one of them.


Quote:
Yes, they're a new technology and not all the kinks have been worked out, but if I was buying a new car I'd probably buy a hybrid.
This is a good point. I personally don't want to be a guniea pig to get kinks worked out of such a car. Normal cars that are new models often have kinks to be worked out. The likelyhood that Hybrids will have more kinks is probably increased with the "new" technologies being used.


Quote:
Diesel engines are more efficient and less polluting per horsepower than standard engines. So yes, the diesel engine in some monster SUV or a 20 year old school bus will cause more pollution than an Accord but it's not a reasonable comparison.
I think you misunderstood me.
kanuslupus wrote:
Diesel should be outlawed because of "smell pollution" (yes, I know its said to be cleaner).
I think the smell of diesel is more offensive, and should not be considered as an alternative. Fortunately, I don't think there's going to be any push to convert cars to diesel.


Quote:
In 50 years or so it's looking like the only way for an average businessman or vacationer to get from New York to Paris is on a boat.
50 years and 6 months. From what I've read, ANWR has about a 6 month supply, and I'm sure they'll start on that in the next year or so.
__________________________________

phong wrote:
kanuslupus wrote:
Yes. Just one more reason there won't be a Toyota in my driveway.

Not even giving it a chance, eh?
I should have placed emphasis on the "Just one more " part. In the near term, no, I'll not be driving a Hybrid. In 5-10 years, maybe they will be functional.


Quote:
I'm in a market for a new car, and a Prius is one of the possibilities at the top of my list. I've heard nothing but positive raving about this car.
I certainly hope you like it if you purchase one. Of the positive raving you've heard, how many people have been interested in Hybrids vs. how many have had a negative opinion of them prior to the "raving"? In other words, how many people that rave about them want to drive a high-end Honda, Toyota or a car with power? The point I'm getting to is, the "ravers" are probably inclined to like the car to begin with. Not just the ravers you know, but in general.
__________________________________

Bloody Bastard wrote:
Some hybrids can use the energy when you break to charge batteries.
I believe both the Honda and Toyota do this.
__________________________________


I also found it very amusing that Bill Maher went from driving a not-low-end Mercedes to the Prius. At least he put his money where his mouth was. He also made the point that the cars are nothing alike. That is, if you want a Mercedes, you'll not be buying a Hybrid (Insight/Prius).

Another thing I find interesting, is with the Honda Civic Hybrid (not Insight), the MPG rating drops significantly. So, currently, to make a "normal" car a Hybrid, the benefits aren't as great. No, I don't think the Prius or Insight are at all "normal" cars outisde of their Hybridness, though the Prius comes closer than the Insight.

Interesting tidbit I just came across:
Best & Worst Fuel Economy wrote:
Two-Seater
Best: Honda Insight (electric-gas hybrid) 61 mpg city, 68 mpg highway

Worst: Ferrari Enzo Ferrari 8 mpg city, 12 mpg highway
With another dot-com boom, maybe I can get me the Enzo ;)
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2002 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gsfgf wrote:
y'all hybrids still burn the same amount of gas. They don't idle, so less pollution, but they have to burn more gas when moving to regharge the fuel cells. Even electric cars use fossil fuel indirectly. When you rechrge them you're putting a strain on the coal powerplants that power your house.
IMO, the car will always burn gas.

The Prius does not need to be recharged from your house. You drive the same number of miles using less gas (hence, higher MPG). The hybrid drivetrain (and other features) make it more efficient. The current production hybrids are conservative (yes, conservative) in their use of efficiency increasing technology.

Pure electric cars DO use fossil fuels indirectly, but electric power plants operate under much more controlled conditions than a internal combustion engine, hence are able to extract energy from the fuel much much more efficiently and much more cleanly. Also, if/when power plants move to alternative fuels, the savings are passed onto your car automatically. I don't think their viable for most people because of the mediocre state of battery technology, but hybrids are a very workable middle ground.

kanuslupus wrote:
One comment in particualr mentioned that one of them (Hybrid/Insight) was useful for "around town" driving and the other was more useful for "highway" driving.

The Insight is not the best example of hybrid technology. It's only really of interest to those who want the absolute most mileage because they're green nuts or something. The Prius is a perfectly good general purpose car. It _does_ get better mileage in the city (50 something vs. 40 something on the freeway), but drives perfectly well in the city, country or over hills (which is an area skeptics said hybrids could never be sucessful in). It's range is actually longer than most pure-gas cars.

kanuslupus wrote:
Diesel should be outlawed because of "smell pollution" (yes, I know its said to be cleaner).

I keep hearing that biodiesel smells like french fries, but the jury is still out on it. I don't know it's the sort of sham that ethonol is.

kanuslupus wrote:
In other words, how many people that rave about them want to drive a high-end Honda, Toyota or a car with power?

The person I mentioned is actually a big GM fanboy (though in the interest of full disclosure, he also was part of the MTU Futurecar and Futuretruck teams). Sure, if you want a sports car, there isn't a hybrid one yet. But right now, the only people interested in getting a hybrid are those who are in the market for economy cars. Once they've proven themselves (and I think the Prius has, at least in the economy car segment), hybrids will be poping up everywhere.

kanuslupus wrote:
Another thing I find interesting, is with the Honda Civic Hybrid (not Insight), the MPG rating drops significantly. So, currently, to make a "normal" car a Hybrid, the benefits aren't as great.

The Insight is targeted to the people who desparately wanted an ev-1 but didn't get it because of the range. It's more politics than substance. True, the mileage in the Civic isn't as good, but considering it's basically just a hybrid drivetrain dropped into a fairly conventional car, I think 46 mpg city/51 hwy is damn nice.
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pjp
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2002 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I happened to see a "special editon" (my words) of Popular Science at a store earlier. This thing was almost a book instead of a magazine. The issue specialized in military vehicles from planes, naval vessels to tanks and the HummVee. Apparently, the Army has a Hybrid HummVee that is more powerful than the normal version, and more fuel efficient. Now... I wonder how much over the normal $100k (has it dropped?) pricetag this one will cost :D
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carlivar
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2002 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think the smell of diesel is more offensive, and should not be considered as an alternative. Fortunately, I don't think there's going to be any push to convert cars to diesel.

Actually diesel exhaust smells better than anything else if you burn different fuel than standard diesel fuel. Such as vegetable oil, or even used grease from McDonald's.

For instance, check out this site: http://veggievan.com

By the way, I have a 2002 VW Jetta TDI (turbodiesel) wagon. It's a pretty decent sized car, performs great due to its high low-end torque, and gets up to 50 mpg. I have driven it 600 miles on one tank (14.5 gallon tank) on more than one occasion. It also doesn't smell much because it's rather small.

Go here for more info: http://tdiclub.com

Carl
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carlivar
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2002 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the problem with hybrid cars so far: they are ugly as sin. In a perfect world that would not be an issue but we all know that's not the case. I think that's one of the main reasons you don't see more people interested in the Prius and such.

Carl
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