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Fairweather

60mph for SUV's?

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I'll admit, it's time to offer some 'encouragement' to people who drive vehicles that consume a lot of fuel - to make changes. I've heard a couple of modest ideas that I could live with until CAFE standards become (rightfully) tougher.

 

SUV's, light trucks, or any vehicle over a specific weight, say, 3500lb curb, should be restricted to the lower truck speed limit where applicable. ie: 60mph in the 70mph zones of I-5 and I-90. I still believe in freedom of vehicle choice, but the case for slower speed can be made on several levels, ie vehicle stability, fuel consumption, etc.

 

Allow hybrids...or any high mileage vehicle access to carpool lanes, even when occupied by a single driver. The vehicle could have some sort of endorsement sticker. Say 42mpg or more. There are a few non-hybrids that also exceed this standard.

 

Disclaimers: Our family vehicles are; 1)SUV 16mpg hwy, 2)sport coupe 34mpg hwy, 3)small sedan 40mpg...and I vote Republican about 95% of the time.

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While the idea is great as compromise legislation that could be passed into law, it would be interesting to see if it was actually enforced on the road.

 

It's interesting to note that many SUV's are already breaking the law due to excess curb weight in some city neighborhoods.

 

I do see a lot of used SUV's for sale around town these days.

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You'd think that the mammoth fuel consumption would be enough of a deterrent, but no...

 

On a related note, I want to see another regular lane turned into a carpool lane, to be enforced only during rush hour.

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FW-

 

that's a fairly sensible approach to dealing with fuel consumption? did you think of this on your own or is there some literature with more info?

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unfortunately that would never pass. Too many lawmakers drive SUV's, plus too much of the public does too. the force behind this would be incredibly hard to overcome. people like to drive fast, and they like their SUVs.

 

It does sound reasonable though.

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...I want to see another regular lane turned into a carpool lane....

 

F*ck that! I want another regular lane on I5 to be turned into a bike lane! grin.gif

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$1/gal additional tax on gasoline for transportation improvements (i.e. not more roads). Obviously drivers will pay any amount for gasoline.

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Allow hybrids...or any high mileage vehicle access to carpool lanes, even when occupied by a single driver. The vehicle could have some sort of endorsement sticker. Say 42mpg or more. There are a few non-hybrids that also exceed this standard.

 

Heck yeah! They already do this in some states. I got a Prius last November and love it. It doesn't get 65mpg or whatever is listed, as these things are tested in ideal (read: unrealistic) conditions. But I won't complain about 50mpg in a nice, zippy car. (Plus I can put the seats down, roll out my sleeping bag, and sleep comfortably in my "trunk" if need be...)

Hybrids rockband.gif

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Allow hybrids...or any high mileage vehicle access to carpool lanes, even when occupied by a single driver. The vehicle could have some sort of endorsement sticker. Say 42mpg or more. There are a few non-hybrids that also exceed this standard.

 

Heck yeah! They already do this in some states. I got a Prius last November and love it. It doesn't get 65mpg or whatever is listed, as these things are tested in ideal (read: unrealistic) conditions. But I won't complain about 50mpg in a nice, zippy car. (Plus I can put the seats down, roll out my sleeping bag, and sleep comfortably in my "trunk" if need be...)

Hybrids rockband.gif

 

On interstate conditions at highway speeds, hybrids run exactly like every other car, exclusively off the gasoline engine. The are a little more fuel efficient because they have smaller motors, but they are lugging around the extra weight of the electric system. Hybrids are more efficient around town, not on the highway.

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why do so many people in seattle drive prius's. they are all over the place. is the gas savings really worth the premium? i drive a 4 door sedan that gets 35-38 mpg on the hwy.

 

also what do environmentalists think about all of the batteries that are required in those babies. wait till they need to be recycled.

 

i'm not against them, i just don't think they are worth the hype and additional cost. but i do hope they continue to be popular because in another 10 years they could very well cost the same as a standard engine, but still have better gas mileage.

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However, I do mostly highway driving and still get 50mpg. (Unless I am doing a rapid acceleration, it seems to be using a combination of the gas engine and the battery.) The gas efficiency is apparent at the pump - a $20 fillerup yields upwards of 375 miles.

 

I think it's worth it... but that's just my opinion. wink.gif

 

(Mec, when I was car shopping, the Prius wasn't that much more than any other car I was looking for...)

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when i looked at a prius around 6-9 months ago, it had about a $2000 premium versus a standard car. that is a lot of gas to make up the differential. not sure if prices have changed much since.

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i did not look at them that closely, it was more out of curiosity. i am just surprised at how many of them I see driving around town.

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Car manufacturers are warranteeing the batteries for something like 8 years, 80,000 miles. As I understand it, the hybrid battery waste stream isn't likely to be much worse than the waste stream from conventional lead acid batteries.

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I read that more carbon is actually put into the atmosphere in the manufacture of SUVs than from their fuel consumption over an average on road life span, by like a factor of two.

 

So, keeping an old vehicle on the road longer is way better than continually buying new ones.

 

That said, my 1980 Jetta with a 1.6 liter engine was getting 40mpg and had over 300,000 miles on it when I finally retired it. And my previous vehicle, a 1977 Chevy Blazer with a 350 V8 only got 12 mpg, but I still squeezed 330,000 miles out of it and it is still running as a piece of mining equipment in Colorado.

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August 30, 2005

The Road to Hell Is Clogged With Righteous Hybrids

 

By JOHN TIERNEY

LOS ANGELES — Judgment Day has arrived in California, but not exactly as prophesied. The ones sitting on the right-hand side are the sinners.

 

They're stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic while the righteous fly past them in the far left lanes. Those freeway lanes used to be reserved for car pools, but they've just been opened to a new group: those of us virtuous enough to drive the right hybrids.

 

I'm not a good enough person yet to own a hybrid, but I've been passing for one. I rented a Toyota Prius for the pleasure of cruising the car pool lanes and parking free at meters, another perk available here in Los Angeles. I've enjoyed it all, especially the envious looks from guys in S.U.V.'s, and I can understand why hybrid drivers in other states and cities are clamoring for similar privileges.

 

But even if these new privileges put more fuel-efficient cars on the road, I'm afraid the net effect will be dirtier air and more gasoline consumption. The promoters of hybrids are committing the sin identified by the ecologist Garrett Hardin in "The Tragedy of the Commons," the 1968 essay providing one of the foundations of environmentalism.

 

The essay's title refers to a pasture that's commonly owned and open to all. Since every individual has an incentive to increase his own herd, the pasture will eventually be destroyed by overgrazing, just as other types of unregulated commons - the ocean, the atmosphere - will be damaged by overproduction and pollution when too many individuals pursue their own goals.

 

This seems like an obvious lesson, Hardin wrote, but it must be "constantly refreshed" because each new generation repeats the mistake. As an example of "how perishable the knowledge is," he pointed to politicians in a Massachusetts town who declared that people didn't have to pay at parking meters during the Christmas shopping season. By giving away the spaces at a time of peak demand, the town encouraged some people to hog spaces and left everyone else unable to park.

 

That's the same mistake being made with hybrids. In Virginia, where they've been allowed for years in the car pool lanes, the lanes have become so clogged that an advisory committee has repeatedly recommended their banishment. The same problem will occur in California, where some of the car pool lanes were congested even without hybrids.

 

As traffic slows down, there will be more idling cars burning more gas and emitting more pollution, but politicians will be reluctant to offend hybrid owners by revoking their privilege. So it will be harder than ever to make the one change proven to speed up traffic and help the environment: convert the car pool lanes into what engineers call high-occupancy toll lanes.

 

These HOT lanes would be free for the truly virtuous commuters - those in car pools, jitneys and buses - and available to anyone else for a toll that would vary with demand. By enticing just enough drivers to maintain a steady flow of high-speed traffic, the HOT lanes could handle many more vehicles per hour than today's car pool lanes, which are usually either too empty or too congested to accommodate the optimum number.

 

With HOT lanes, everyone would come out ahead, drivers as well as environmentalists. As more drivers paid for a guaranteed speedy commute in the left lane, they would leave the regular lanes less clogged, so there would be fewer cars stuck in traffic jams, wasting gas and spewing fumes.

 

With HOT lanes, you could still encourage people to buy hybrids by promising them a discount on the tolls, but there's a fairer way to promote environmental virtue. Instead of arbitrarily rewarding a few cars for having a certain kind of engine, set tolls for all vehicles according to their weight. Since S.U.V.'s and other heavy vehicles require more room to brake, they need more empty pavement between them and the next car, and they should pay extra for it.

 

I realize that many Prius owners would rather have free privileges in the car pool lane than a discount in a HOT lane. But they'd be moving a lot faster, and they would still have one great satisfaction.

 

As they contemplated how much more the Hummer drivers were paying in tolls, devout environmentalists would experience the "joyful sense" that Jonathan Edwards predicted for Judgment Day: "When the saints in glory, therefore, shall see the doleful state of the damned, how will this heighten their sense of the blessedness of their own state, so exceedingly different from it!"

 

Email: tierney@nytimes.com

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it's more efficient to drive a hybrid in a regular lane than in the HOV lane because there is more stop and go braking in the more crowded lane and speeds are lower so you are driving more on the battery and less on the gas....

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FW-

 

that's a fairly sensible approach to dealing with fuel consumption? did you think of this on your own or is there some literature with more info?

 

 

 

a.) he can't read, so he didn't read a brochure...

b.) he can't think for himself

 

so, that means: someone told him...

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"Since S.U.V.'s and other heavy vehicles require more room to brake, they need more empty pavement between them and the next car, and they should pay extra for it.

"

 

Yes, nobody ever points out the fact that SUVs are a fucking hazard to everybody else. I was nearly smashed by a suburban due to its inability to slow from highway speed in any sort of reasonable distance.

 

The irony of people driving this garbage for their family's "safety" is staggering. rolleyes.gif

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Clearly...it's Suburbanite Darwinism - "As long as my vehicle kills the neighbor's children and not my own"

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The irony of people driving this garbage for their family's "safety" is staggering.
There's no irony in this at all, for as you stated...
As long as my vehicle kills the neighbor's children and not my own

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I wouldn't advocate a mandatory SUV speed limit, but I would support public announcements reminding people that their cars get better mileage at lower speeds. I think most people forget that it costs them significantly more to run at 75 mph than it does at 60 mph. The worst speeders are usually the SUV drivers.

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