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The November Car Update Expand / Collapse
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Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2007 9:26 AM


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The Zap is cool. I drove a Zebra and really liked it. If I was back at my old house, I'd seriously consider one. With 3 200lb guys in it, we hit 40mph. The 40 mile range is a little worrisome for me, especially when it's 10-12 miles of hills.

However it's a nice short distance, commuting, running errands car.







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Post #426944
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2007 10:58 AM
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It's funny reading about all the new hybrids and such with newer cars coming out with better mileage all the time.
I, like a few of you out there, survived the 1973 oil embargo and subsequent fuel shortages. I can clearly recall back then that VW introduced its diesel Rabbit with an advertised 48 mpg. VW could not keep them in stock. Actually mileage was sometimes even better. Mid 50's.
So what happened between '73 and '07? Shouldn't we have hydrocarbon based engines doing well over 100 mpg that still offer the performance that Americans look for? If somebody had applied Moore's law to engine development, we would be there right now. I do believe that Hydrogen is the future fuel and we should stop trying to build all the current electric solutions of plug and drive. That's just putting the pollution in somebody's else's backyard where the power is generated at.
I watched a show last week on bio fuels. Corn is not the answer but a certain grass( I think) produces more ethanol per acre (about twice as much) and is cheaper and faster to grow. Why do we pursue less then optimal projects?
I know the answers and I think most here do also.
I'll get off my soap box now and go get into my 4x4 truck.
Post #426994
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2007 11:17 AM
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switchgrass...

but biodiesel is even better.
Post #427000
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2007 2:46 PM
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Pardon me, Bob H, but I generate in my own backyard (okay, on my roof) with no pollution - at least on sunny days. Here in the Northwest the majority of our electricity comes from hydro - we kill salmon instead of polluting (unless you count the dead-fish smell).

Americans love their cars, but if you want a non-car solution, we should design our cities and suburbs better. If I could only walk to the grocery store! I could use the exercise. :)



Here there be dragons...,

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Post #427120
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2007 3:03 PM
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The big thing right now isn't even cars, it is power plants, they can build better generating nuclear plants (without the glow in the dark excess) to ruduce oil and coal use drastically (Not too mention how this will impact carbon emissions even thou I personally don't belive the whole greenhouse gas craze). Solar and wind are great but they don't scale well without adding additional units plus they rely on uncertainties. As for cars there are a lot of companies starting to push hard now such as Hybrid Technologies which may make electric a more viable solution but the issue is having weight and getting speed and distance squeezed out without loosing luxury. Ultimately you will still have pollution as long as people don't properly care for and recycle the things they have and stop wasting simple things like water.


Post #427130
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2007 4:23 PM


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The hybrids aren't necessarily that great. I had a 1990 Ford Fiestiva (4 cylinder engine) that got 50 mpg. I also had a 1993 Honda Civic (4 cylinder engine) that also got 50 mpg. The new Hybrid Civic gets about 45 mpg, so where is the improvement?

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind getting Toyota Prius for driving around town, but technology in the automotive industry isn't really keeping pace with technologial growth in other areas.



Lynn Pettis

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Post #427161
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2007 4:34 PM


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If you're on the highway a lot, without a lot of stopping and starting (which is apparently part of the trick required to recharge your hybrid), your Hybrid isn't going to show much improvement over a "regular" car, since you will mostly be running on the conventional part of the engine.

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Post #427164
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2007 5:23 PM


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As I am not commuting between Colorado Springs and Denver anymore (did that for 15 years), most of my driving today is city based, so the hybrid would be useful for me.

Made a slight mistake on the Civic, it was a 1995 Civic, not a 1993. I had a used Ford Tempo (86) and a used Festiva (88) between the 90 Festiva and 95 Civic.




Lynn Pettis

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Post #427177
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2007 6:06 PM
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I agree the automotive industry has not kept up with the times - and especially the USA automotive industry. There seems to be a huge resistance to change - as I'm sure many of us have experienced in our own industry with specific users ("but we've ALWAYS done it that way!") :P

I think that's a pity, no matter which industry we're talking about. We could, as a society, be doing SOOO much better in many areas if more people embraced change as a positive, rather than a negative. I think the internet is helping in some respects simply because more information on alternatives is easily accessible to anyone with a computer and a connection (or a library nearby). The grassroots push for change is having an effect on everything from corporate social responsibility to politics. Perhaps it will change some entrenched attititudes - after all, if you can't beat them, join them, right?



Here there be dragons...,

Steph Brown
Post #427180
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2007 7:10 PM


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We talked about diesels, but there are so few for sale. VW stopped the Jetta and we really wanted a 5 seater (to compare to the minivan).

The auto industry certainly hasn't done very well, but cheap gas for too long hasn't forced them. Add that to subsidies for SUVs for businesses a few years back and we went backwards with tons of Hummers being sold.

It needs to be a balance because we want to enjoy life in our cars, not just make them the most efficient they can be. I like to see the small steps being taken to make things better and I hope they continue.







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