Sunday, June 03, 2007

NY Times: Detroit Sees Green (I'll Believe It When I See It)

The NY Times has an article about Detroit and US carmakers finally seeing green.

Frankly, I'll believe it when I can buy an American made plug-in hybrid diesel SUV that gets over 40 mpg and I can run it on used vegetable oil, and that I can trust to be as reliable as my Toyota.

First, reliability - sorely lacking by most American cars compared to their Japanese counterparts - is also as green as Kermit the Frog. Because it means not having to spend time and money on new parts and materials as a result of the car always seeming to need to go into the shop for one problem or another (my last experience with an American car).

This problem has kept me restricted to considering Toyota's or Honda's for their reliability. But I'm now personally unable to support Honda because they make those annoying ATVs and dirt bikes that I'm having a harder and harder time escaping the sound of at my favorite camping spots. Beautiful places where I used to be able to go for some peace, now it's the sound of ATV's - worse and worse every year. Maybe Honda should put some ATV profits toward educating their customers in how to be considerate. And how to not cause the considerable environmental damage they are causing.

Additionally, I just won't be able to stomach purchasing an American car until the Big 3 stop fighting Congressional attempts to raise fuel efficiency standards. Not just baby steps, like the pathetically inadequate increases passed over the last few years. But the big-time major increases required to both fight climate change and broadly boost the U.S. economy (because money not spent on gas can be spent on electronics, home improvements, travel, clothing, you name it). Here I am paying more and more for gas and needing a more fuel efficient car that meets my driving and transportation needs. So when the Big 3 fight increases in fuel efficiency standards in the U.S., it hurts my bottom line, and I don't appreciate that.

Clearly, there is currently an outstanding opportunity for American carmakers to do their part to (1) help America achieve freedom from foreign oil, (2) prevent a climate crisis, and (3) come to the rescue of an American public tired of the high gas prices that are hurting our pocketbooks. Articles about Detroit seeing green in the NY Times aside, I'll believe it when I can both buy it AND trust it to be as reliable as my Toyota.

Don't get me wrong - I'm rooting for them!

But until then, I just don't have any interest in buying an American car.

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