Friday, April 25, 2008

Hybrids and Gas Mileage (failure)

Well, here is something that definitely is "NOT"!

Here is why I say that:

For the last year or so I have been closely watching what the auto manufacturers are tossing out as solutions to high fuel prices. Everyone seems to be developing their hybrids in several of their models. GM has a full size SUV hybrid, and when I saw that news a fair bit of excitement came over me.
Imagine, full functionality and great gas mileage. That would be great. Then I saw the estimated mileage claims from GM, something like 20 in town and 22 highway.

Hold the phone! I get 20 to 22 in my 2001 Durango now, and it is almost paid for. Why would I want to spend another $45,000 on something that gets virtually the same mileage.
Once the D is paid off, I'll have an extra $380 a month to throw at the gas pump. WTF GM?!
Not to mention I tool around in a 1983 Toyota pick-up that I bought for $1,800 and it gets 25 to 28 MPG, with a net insurance cost of $5.00 a month.

Today in the newspaper there was a review of the Saturn Vue hybrid claiming a whopping 25 to 30 MPG on a 4 cylinder motor at around $25 to $30K.
25 to 30 MPG is not good, we can get that without going hybrid and without the expenditure of more cash.

What are these companies thinking?

Why is America and it's citizens so impressed with mediocrity?
(That question applies to the Velo Promo issue too, sorry Alli, had to throw that in.)

Why as citizens are we so quick to give praise to substandard performance? Are our expectations so low that we are impressed with any effort even when it should be equated to failure?

I honestly think this issue is not about hybrids (or race promotion), it's about our society having greater expectations and requiring a level of excellence from those providing services and products.
I am not talking about lip service like we currently do, I mean the final product needs to be everything we have represented it to be in the literature. We tend to build things up as being all that and a bag of chips but what it turns out to be is a Cup of Noodles and Ho Ho.

Now I don't mind a Cup of Noodles and Ho Ho now and then, but what gets my goat is when you tell me you are selling a sandwich and a bag of chips and you give me the other. Even more is when people argue or proclaim how thankful they are for the Cup of Noodles and Ho Ho, forgetting the fact that they were supposed to have gotten a sandwich and chips.

This blatant lack of demand for excellence and extremely misguided exuberance for mediocrity and even failure is going to be the down fall of our economy and ultimately our country.

The craftsmanship, the love of producing a great product, the pride in ownership has been lost on cheap goods, services, and performance that fails to compare to it's pre-release literature.
Our culture is caught up in lip service and empty promises. No wonder we consume and waste at alarming rates. We don't demand anything of quality and everything is fleeting as we prepare ourselves for the next purchase or to consume the next cheap thrill.

It's just sad.

What can you do?
As far as the auto manufacturers are concerned, stop buying...just stop. If we all demand something better they will have no choice but to provide it. It's the law of supply and demand.
When you go car shopping ask the sale person, "do you have anything that doesn't run on gas"?
Listen carefully to their reply, chances are they didn't really grasp what you just said.
I had this experience just yesterday at the Dodge dealership.
Coming back from the parts department I walked by a young salesman that seemed quite bored.
I asked him "slow day?", he said "really slow". Then I popped the question "so what does Dodge have that doesn't run on gas?".
His reply was "we have some 6 and 4 cylinder engines".
See what I mean, he didn't really hear what my question was. I asked him what they used for fuel. He said gas.
I then said "I am looking for something that doesn't use gas at all".
"Oh, we don't have any thing like that."
I wished him a nice day and hopped in my $1,800 1983 Toyota with a $4,000 bicycle in the back and drove away.
Sale lost!

If only one of us do that the effort is nearly pointless, but if 3 or 4 people a day walked up and asked the same question and demanded the same type of result, someone is going to get the message.

So next time you are near a dealer ship with a couple of spare minutes, just walk up and ask them the question "what do you have that doesn't run on gas?".


Blogger phipps said...

It would be a real shame if the single driver in the 20mpg hybrid SUV gets to use the diamond lane while the poor guy in the 1985 Honda CRX getting 40+ mpg is stuck in traffic. Too bad Honda doesn't still make the CRX.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Nome Agusta said...

I am telling you.
But the lip service brigade would do their smoke and mirrors trick and justify it.

8:23 PM  

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