Monday, May 22, 2006

What else? GAS PRICES

American car manufacturers are REALLY shortsighted. Take the Geo Metro, for example. A nifty little car; gets about 50 miles to the gallon. Quentin Tarantino drove one around for the longest time – even after he was completely 100% famous. Oh. Right. They stopped making that one. Then there was the fully electric EV-1. Oh yeah. One couldn’t buy an EV-1 – one could only lease. GM pulled them off the market and took them away from the people that had them. No more EV-1.

We’ve always bought American – trying to do our bit for the economy – supporting the U.S. autoworker, blah blah blah. We felt even better about not simply buying American, but for owning two Fords, due to Ford’s progressive policy on providing health coverage for domestic partners.

British Petroleum is doing this unheard of thing, called smart business policies that take into effect the changing economy and global need for fuel alternatives. They have been working with solar power, which extends the arm of Big Oil to the construction biz of solarizing homes. They now do this thing where, for every celebrity that hires BP to completely solarize their home, BP will solarize the home of a low income dweller for free. Kinda cool. And they do it here in the U.S. of A.

I am quite worried about the U.S. autoworkers – one look at the depressed and crumbled pit of despair and despoiler of human dignity that is Detroit - a huge crystal ball to the rest of the U.S. auto manufacturers and the towns that they are housed in with respect to what is shortly to come. I hope they have all sent their various applications and CV’s into the other guys in preparation for the impending horror – the horror that will be the auto-worker losing their job first, so the top of the corporate food chain can keep their shirt.

I heard a rumor that PWM’s – (People With Money) are purchasing up bulk amounts of fuel – like commodities – to be on hand for them should the time come that it is rationed to the rest of us folk.

In real life, not rumor, those of us who are already on a budget must do something differently. Here in Los Angeles, we have people who live on minimum wage that are pawning their stuff to put gas in their car to get to work – there is no subway that will take one west of Highland, since the folks in Beverly Hills, Bel Aire, et al, don’t want that element coming into their part of town. A bus ride is 2-3 hours.

Manpants and I have been feeling mighty guilty for quite a while because one of our vehicles was the Explorer Sport – a 15 gallon smaller version of the regular ole Ford Explorer that gets about 18 miles to the gallon. It has been great for the dogs and great for the various trips; great for being able to actually see when we drive, due to the sheer volume of other sight-blocking SUV's on the road here – but having it in this day and age has been eating at our souls. So, Friday, Manpants took it to the Toyota dealer and traded it in on the zippy new, 40 miles to the gallon, Toyota Yaris. Estimated yearly savings are that of a really decent vacation someplace beautiful. I have a feeling, based upon the large number of Yaris cars that were sold over the weekend at the one car dealership we used, that we’re going to be seeing a lot of this.

Right now would be a really good time for GM to pull their corporate heads out of the oil drum and re-introduce assembly of the Geo Metro and the EV-1.


Blogger Catharine said...

As the proud owner of a Hyundai Elantra (26 city/36 hwy -- your mileage may vary), I am still being pummeled by gas prices. I haven't filled my tank in three months.

My daughter is set to start driving soon, and I wonder how someone on minimum wage is going to manage to gas up. Fortunately, we live in the 'burbs, and her entire life happens to be pretty much on one or two bus routes. But how long before bus fares start skyrocketing?

Auto manufacturers are in bed with oil magnates. Union bosses are cozy with corporate lobbyists. And they're all in league with the devil.

And because Bible Belters are convinced that the Apocalypse is only a year or two away, they have no need to feed their families, as long as they put "God-fearing" white Republicans in office.

It's a vicious cycle, but it continues.


22 May, 2006 10:54  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

"Right now would be a really good time for GM to pull their corporate heads out of the oil drum..." Nah, they don't have any incentive to do that. When the Detroit automakers go under, we the lowly taxpayers will bail them out and provide golden parachutes to all the VIPs. The peons who actually work for a living will have to fend for themselves of course, as always.

23 May, 2006 12:06  
Blogger R said...

My neighbors all have huge expensive Suv's. They acted like I was a baby killer for putting my daughter in our Ford Focus. (It's A FOUR DOOR) But I do not need four wheel drive to go to Walmart. And I certainly do not need to pay $100.00 bucks for the honor.
Did you see that CNN special about oil? Brazil is all set to go completely oil free NEXT YEAR. They all drive cars powered on sugar.
We are trying to do that here with corn, but it is not as efficient. But like Bill Maher says "It doesn't matter if sugar is a better source, Corn has a bigger lobby. Corn will win".
F'ing ridiculous.
I'm tired of getting screwed.
I don't care if you vote for a donkey. We've got to get all these assholes out of office. Pronto.
And Catharine. The World IS going to end soon. My preacher told me. I'm stocking up on canned goods just in case. Don't be crying to me when your running around in tattered clothes looking for a green bean.

23 May, 2006 12:45  
Blogger Seamus said...

I'm afraid I have NO sympathy for US auto makers (I do for the workers despite the fact they have pushed there wages into the stratusphere), but they have had the formula for years and have ignored it. We've owned VW's, Fords (both currently) and Chevys, Olds, Buicks, Plymouths, Toyotas, Nissans and Hondas - only the VWs, Toyotas, Nissans and Hondas have given us any longevity and we drive a lot! The foreign cars have always gotten better milage and we've driven each to over 300k (even with teenage drivers). You'd think Detroit would get a clue. Pisses me off that I can no longer support our own shoddy manufacture, but I cannot and will not - fuck them!

23 May, 2006 13:29  
Blogger justacoolcat said...

How about hydrogen?

You know some countries mainly have hydrogen cars?

Nothing like water as a byproduct.

24 May, 2006 14:51  
Blogger 1138 said...

Well the Metro was actually a Suzuki and not an American made product, but your idea is right.
But what is GM doing instead?
$1.99 Gas subsidized for purchasers of new SUV's and mid sized cars.
It's been downhill for Detroit and American manufacturing for decades.
We are quite able, but we appear to even more unwilling.

24 May, 2006 18:00  
Blogger frstlymil said...

Well, I'm not sure what countries are using completely hydrogen powered vehicles - would have to research - however I live in a drought state, so where water tends to be scarce at times, I'm not sure that water would be any better than gas - since what we have needs to be used for agriculture and drinking, etc. - I happen to be pretty skeptical about Bushy and his big hydrogen dream. Corn and sugar would need more and more agricultural space so then we still have an environmental issue - not to mention what countries we would rape to grow sugar and corn when we were tapped out here - I'm pretty sure fully electric would be the best thing on the environment - or recycling cooking oil as bio diesel.

24 May, 2006 20:46  
Blogger Kirk said...

Frstlymil: I don't know how things are done in L.A., but out here it's rude to ignore someone's apology. You go back and accept Herman's apology before God spites you.

28 May, 2006 15:35  
Blogger Laura said...

I bought a new car in November and did some research about the hybrids that were available. One thing that surprised me is that if you do a lot of highway driving (which I do), the gas mileage on hybrids is not much better than the gas mileage on a nice little 4-cylindar Honda Accord (which is what I ended up getting). The hybrids are a better deal if you do a lot of short trips or city driving. The Accord was about $7,000 less than the closest hybrid, which translates to a LOT of gas. I don't get much pep with only 4-cylindars (instead of 6 like I was used to), but the gas savings is worth it.

31 May, 2006 06:59  
Blogger Seamus said...

Just kicking your tires Mille! :)

14 June, 2006 08:55  
Blogger BaxterWatch said...

Hydrogen fuel cells are a reality - technology has existed for decades but between the oil, and auto lobby, the US government has not given any incentives (such as the ones to US automakers) to develop the mass production technology.

I'm with you - I had a honda. I have a subaru for snow driving. We're getting screwed and most people are freaking out about gas prices - WTF? We have less fuel effcient cars than we did 20 years ago... the problem is not with the gas prices, the problem is with the auto manufacturers and oil companies and the politicians who make the tax breaks and EPA standards.

me, I'll buy foreign forever.

20 June, 2006 12:01  
Anonymous Jet said...

Hydrogen will probably not pan out as all gas stations would require complete overhauls to provide it -- it's a high pressure fuel. Methanol has made some excellent advances in the past five years, and could be another alternative to Ethanol. Both of these could be produced by chemical companies. I'd love to see them swipe market share from those big oil crooks.

Missed you, Mil.

20 June, 2006 17:05  

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