When purchasing a new car, gas economy was an important factor for at least one-third of American car buyers. In 1992 already General Motors built a vehicle that got 100 miles to the gallon – and all these years later one of people’s major concerns on top of global warming and pollution is dependence on foreign oil. Yet another automobile, the GM TPC, which looked a lot like the Geo Metro, weighed only 1000 pounds and would get 75 miles per gallon. The automobile had a 3-cylinder engine, but was discontinued when it needed 200 pounds of reinforcement to be added to comply with America’s safety laws.
It may be surprising that GM had this car built and discontinued, but they had other prototypes that ended the same way. These kinds of vehicles include the GM Lean-Machine in 1982 at 80 MPG, and the GM Ultralite which got 100 MPG. In 1992 Honda appeared to be attaining 50 miles per gallon with the Civic VX, and at the same time General Motors had vehicles behind the scenes getting 100 MPG, though selling the public cars that were getting 20 MPG. Surely this begs the question as to the reasons these cars that are proficient at 100 mpg are not available to the public.
One more puzzling thing is that a lot of companies, while selling fuel-eficient vehicles in foreign countries, are selling traditional gas guzzlers in the US. For quite some time automobiles that get over 70 miles per gallon have been available in Japan and Europe. For instance, the Volswagen Lupo has never been marketed in the united states – this is a car that gets 78 mpg. A vehicle called the Jazz elsewhere in the world was brought to the States in 2007 as the Fit. There are economy-boosting selections with the Jazz in Japan, say for example a smaller engine and other ways to reduce consumption, but not so with the Fit in the US.
Auto manufacturers in the united states tell their public that they create big autos because they, the public, love big autos. It really is obvious that manufacturers don’t make a lot of money selling a small 2-person commuter vehicle, but they certainly do selling big SUVs. A Tank on Wheels is the thing to own – that’s the concept that the commercials beguile the American public with. Fuel-saving options from the big companies are uncommon, so it’s pretty easy to deduce where their interests lay. GM could today have been in the leading position with fuel-efficient vehicles, but they decided, rather, to champion SUVs. All of the other car makers did the same thing by producing fuel-efficient cars, and then denied them to Americans.
In spite of climatic change and the incredible pollution of the world environment, US car makers have yet to react positively and at least give Americans the option of a fuel-efficient car. The question comes up: how many Americans could have been thankful for the option of acquiring a car with good gas mileage but weren’t ever offered it? Might it be time to retrieve those discarded designs and, again, start building those vehicles that were once built a long time ago?
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