Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Warming Wednesdays: autos arrive

Apparently we don't crave fuel efficient cars, recession or no. From the big Detroit auto show:

Hybrid sales waned as gasoline prices ebbed in 2011, declining to 2.2 percent of the market from 2.4 percent a year earlier, according to the research firm LMC Automotive. Meanwhile, sales of the Nissan Leaf electric car and the Chevrolet Volt plug-in each fell short of expectations.

Analysts do not expect the segment to grow significantly this year: the combination of gas prices below $4 a gallon and higher upfront costs for the cars is not attracting consumers.

New York Times, January 9, 2012

I find this surprising -- I see scads of hybrids here in northern California. Many people I know drive various hybrid models and love them.

And, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, new fuel economy standards that the Obama administration has negotiated with automakers will make a real dent in our climate changing carbon emissions.

Once fully implemented, the new standards will require automakers to produce vehicles that emit roughly half the global warming emissions produced by today’s new automobiles. In 2030 alone, that will keep 290 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released into our atmosphere annually—equivalent to taking more than 40 million of today's cars and trucks off the road for an entire year. In terms of fuel economy, the standards will cut U.S. oil consumption in 2030 by 1.5 million barrels of oil per day.

This is apparently significant. (The linked article also explains one of the life's minor mysteries: why the miles per gallon stickers on new cars bear so little relation to the kind of real life gas mileage a model gets.)

And my state of California has issued rules that go the federal rules one better. Of necessity, we've always led on trying to reduce smog. Every time I go to Los Angeles, I fantasize about how beautiful the setting would be if you could reliably see the adjacent mountains.

Amid all this auto news, a sad note: Ford is apparently discontinuing my much loved Escape Hybrid. Damn. I finally found a car that meets my main criteria: reasonably clean and efficient and something you step up into. I loathe trying to bend into a pretzel to crawl into a car. Oh well, I only bought Wowser last year and I usually drive cars for a decade or more, so who knows what they'll be offering by the time I have to replace her. All I feel sure of is that I'll still live in a society in which some kind of car is a necessity, sadly for the planet.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails