(CAFE) I already have a golf cart, I don't need another one

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May 25, 2009

I read in our local newspaper that one promise President Obama made was to have 1 million plug-in hybrid electric cars on the road by 2015. He can make that 999,999 because I already have a golf cart and won’t be needing another one. Where I live, an electric car that can go 40 or 50 miles before it needs to be plugged in and charged will hardly get me to the grocery store and back before it loses its charge.

The really sad thing is these plug-in hybrid cars, designed to save money by eliminating fossil fuels, will cost the consumer way more to buy than the trusty old comparable gasoline model. Geoffrey Styles, founder of energy consultants, GSW Strategy Group, said it will take a minimum of six years for drivers to recoup the differential between a Chevy Volts projected price and that of a Toyota Prius — even assuming $4 per-gallon gasoline. That brings a question to mind, how long do you keep a car before trading it in? I average about 4 years, so would never recoup the money I spent, even with a government tax rebate, for buying one of these electric hybrid cars. I paid less for my 2500, 4-door Dodge Ram hemi than one of these electric Chevy Volts will cost, and I want to see them load the Volt up with some 4 X 8 sheets of plywood and 2 X 4’s.

The Federal government bails out the automakers and once in control passes new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Obama’s new standard requires fleets to average 35.5 MPG by 2016. The way I see it is for automakers to meet this standard it will require much lighter, smaller cars that will pose more of a risk to those driving them. And if people decide to buy these more efficient vehicles the price of fuel will be lower making bigger less fuel efficient vehicles more attractive because of the higher price you pay for the new hybrid models. The cycle goes on!

I really don’t see any significant savings or any real benefits for the environment. If there are over 1 million electric cars driving around the country there will be millions of depleted lithium-ion batteries to dispose of not to mention that electric cars need coal fired electric power plants to make them go. Last I heard coal fired power plants weren’t doing much good in the way of the environment.

So what do we get for our money in say the year 2012? We get a less powerful vehicle at a much higher price that really isn’t safe to drive and you constantly have to find a place to plug the #&*! thing in.

I want to know what is happening to the free market and choice in America? There are hybrid cars out there right now that can get the same mileage dictated by the new CAFE standard for people who want them; so why is our government making it a standard. In doing so it only means myself and other business owners like me will be required to pay much more money to buy a truck that can do the job I need it to do!

That brings me to the RV side of this. The RV industry will be hit the hardest with new CAFE standards. Even with downsized, lighter versions of towable trailers the owner will pay dearly for a vehicle that can safely tow it. Motorized RV’s will be downsized and powered by more fuel efficient engines. There is nothing wrong with this, but if I work hard and am successful and choose to buy a 35 foot type A motorhome I should be able to do that and not suffer because the government forced the automaker and RV manufacturers hand to produce smaller, lighter vehicles and RV’s

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against government. The Federal government does and always will have a role to play in our society. With that said the American government should not force its various economic and political socialist leaning goals on American citizens. We were built on Democracy, Capitalism and free market. That is what I defended for all those years in the military and that is what I will continue to defend now. We should have the choice and the right to select and purchase the vehicle of our choice, to meet the requirements we have for said vehicle, and not be punished in doing so.

These are just my thoughts, what are yours?

Mark Polk

RV Education 101

RV University

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  2. Arcee

    I live in the shadow of a coal-fired power plant and, believe me, electric cars are anything but “zero emission.” If you want to drive a dangerous little toy, please feel free to generate your own electricity in your own house and either inhale the fumes or invest in and work around the solar panels and windmills. I cose to burn gasoline and reap the benefits of price and power to pull a trailer (it also is good for my neighbors, who work at Exxon/Mobil and Conoco/Phillips).

  3. Vegasdan

    What I don’t understand is why a majority of the Prius owners all drive like Mario Andretti? I’m not exagerating. I drive a lot of miles and have for several years and Prius drivers seem to drive well over the speed limit. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of that car? Aren’t they supposed to be saving fuel? They certainly set a lousy example.

  4. Bruce G.

    As I see it, there are two, very distinct opposing views. Also, a whole lot of name calling. What happened to us becoming more civil, since the election of ’08? We are still Americans right? So debate is our creed, civility and kind, but still having a right to our viewpoint. Why such hate? Now let us just look at some simple facts. Until we make electricity from only clean fuels, i.e., nuclear, wind solar or something similar, we will greatly increase the carbon output via the current producers of electric power by the simple fact these electric cars need electricity to charge their batteries. If these electric, hybrid, or the like are so popular, sound and wonderful, why aren’t they selling like hot cakes (sorry dieters) already, we Americans are really smart, if something works and is good for us we will buy it. We don’t need some agency to force things on us, like taxes. This is still the ‘Land of the FREE and the Home of the BRAVE’, or has that all gone the way of the Berlin Wall? Just because Europe does something doesn’t make it good or right. just remember how they gave us slavery, Hitler and the USSR.

  5. Fred (WHS)

    The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Shout the conservatives… Obama is going to lead us into a socialist 3rd world country! No, the sky is not falling scream the Liberals, you don’t understand – It’s the ground that’s rising!! The Republicans are going to lead us into a capitalist controlled classed system, of Slaves and Slave owners.

    Come on folks, wake up and open your eyes. While I certainly love my big American Chevy pickup… I mean there’s nothing like the sound of big American V8, I don’t live with my head in the ground and not realize they are ineffecient, polluting, outdated technology. Personally, I see this as a way to prod the mfg’s into developing new technologies. There is already a company that is producing a contractors full size (3/4 & 1 ton) pickup conversion that will get 200+MPG in town and over 30MPG hwy, towing and hauling! This technology needs to be developed.

  6. John Shelton

    Be patient, Connie! A couple of prototype hybrid motorhomes were displayed at the Louisville RV show a few months ago. Motorhomes operate under somewhat different operating conditions, intercity highway rather than urban stop and go of a city bus, and some “tweaking” of the systems is now being done to make the technology practical for the Motorhome market. (practical from an engineering standpoint as well as an economic standpoint)

  7. Connie

    Oh, I forgot – my next motorhome will be a hybrid, as soon as they are smart enough to build them. We have hybrid buses now so I don’t know why we can’t have hybrid motorhomes.

  8. Connie

    I have a Prius and love it. Even if it turned out that it cost me more to own one (and it doesn’t) I would still get a Prius because it reduces our dependence on foreign oil. I would not get a hybrid that plugs in because, although I haven’t worked the numbers, it would probably cost me more for the electricity than for gas and I don’t want to be dependent on the big energy companies any more than I want to be dependent on foreign oil.

  9. Kurt Hammerschmidt

    Why is it that whenever the gov’t gets involved with ANY issue, it ends up costing the consumer more. I own a prius and I enjoy it. But the gov’t forcing people to own one by heavy handed taxes and penalties forcing consumers to choose what they have decided is best for them is a form of facism. Ohh and the definition of socialism is the gov’t owns the major corporations and takes the profit. Facism is when the major corporations are privately owned and the gov’t controls them. I don’t like either and prefer the private ownership of companies an the consumer decides who has the best product and the rest go out of business.

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  11. Bob West

    Don’t be disgusted or angry with your heroes. We are having a good discussion and I am learning so much from the participants.

    Oh yes the folks who want it to be all about politics and badly mistate our Constitution and laws frustrate me but when you cut to the heart of it we need to make a fundamental decision. Are we going to each take some responsibility for changing the way we fuel our vehicles. Can each of us drive a little less by careful planning. Can we idle the car less. Can we drive slower. Can those who can afford it purchase alternative fuel vehicles?

    We can beat this problem of high fuel cost and reduce pollution at the same time. If we don’t the air will get worse and only the rich will use the highways.

    We are living in a wonderful time. It is the beginning of a great transition. I have seen the beginning of television and the computer revolution and now I hope to witness the energy revolution and do my part to save the planet.

    I look forward to sharing it with all of you. Thanks Mark for kicking off this great exchange.

  12. Edwin

    Articles like this — errors and all — will make me drop subscription to this forum. I’m disgusted.

  13. lajuene

    Mark, you WERE one of my heroes….wish you hadn’t dragged politics into RVing to ruin that.

  14. Juanita

    Whew! what a lot of talk! And I thought I was opinionated

    How about turning off the engine while idling? And carpooling? (stated by a Mom) Would we need as many of those fuel efficient/alternate energy vehicles if we more wisely used what we have? Public transit?

    Really, even if we do all we can, the big businessmen that pay the candidates’ way into office will still find themselves, not so much us little guys, reaping the benefits of legislation. And aren’t some of their production facilites the larger polluters than my minivan?

    I can’t help but remember reading somewhere, though, that it might have been some of these entrepreneurial fellows who had at least as much to do with the building of those fabulous railroads as the government who supposedly built them.

    I see the good in and great need for social programs, but sure do like my capitalist system.

    By the way, I don’t mind a little horse pucky smelling up my neighbourhood. Maybe that’s the way to go.

  15. Jack Harrell

    Hey Mark, by 2016 none of this will matter because the people that have worked and been successful due to their ingenuity and dedication to their goals won’t be able to afford an RV anyway. The present administration and Congress will hve completed the sharing of the wealth. The non-producers will be enjoying the fruits of your labor while you and I continue working so they don’t have to.

  16. MikeP

    I’m surprised at all the misconceptions here.

    Hybrid vehicles can be a great idea. If you want a HYBRID truck that can haul plywood and also get 22mpg, look at the Chevy Silverado Hybrid:


    I’d say the bulk of the savings comes from capturing energy from regenerative braking and using it to start the truck moving again.

    I think the real problem is that GM waited this long before starting development.

    If you’re concerned about power and torque, I believe the future is going to be VERY bright once electric motors become common in our drivetrains.

    As a matter of fact, diesel-electric locomotives do quite well torque-wise. 🙂
    (the designers knew the secret — electric motors have almost infinite torque)

  17. Serge Cossette

    G.M. just came out whith a nice V-6 twin-turbo that delivers 340 H.P. It will be fitted in a Pick-up truck in a couple of years and make a sensible tow vehicle.So let us keep trailering. And thank you for the great political lecturing !

  18. Thank you Bob & Dave West – great answers and responses.

    To Mark – sorry, but our military is to defend our boundaries and liberty, not our “free market” system – which isn’t free- or capitalism, which has already been pointed out is an economic philosophy and system. BTW – I don’t recall our founding fathers specifying any economic system for our country and form of government.

    These new CAFE standards aren’t going to force you to drive a “golf cart”. If you need a larger, heavier vehicle because of where you live or the type of work you do, they will still be there. Those who live and work in our large cities will now have a real choice for a commuter car as well as public transportation to chose from.

    As mentioned earlier, the car was far more expensive when it competed against the horse and buggy, there were no roads, gas stations nor motels, but somehow, the country or economic system adapted and provided those when people started demanding those services. Oh yes, I guess that was the “free market” at work, but it was the government entities that built the highway infrastructure. New Yorkers hailed the automobile as the answer to cleaning up the pollution of that day, being buried in horse crap from all of our 4 legged beasts there! Maybe, just maybe we can see the sense in developing another alternative to help reduce pollution, traffic and congestion now, rather than still be seduced with nay-saying conservatives!!

    Why is it we still want the incredible cost of fossil fuel dependancy to continue? Why continue to send our dollars to desert royal families who don’t like us anyway? Why continue the tremendous military costs from the past and into the future to insure the flow of that fuel? Why not take steps to keep that money in our own country for our own benefit? No, that doesn’t mean that even if we drilled in our own country we could even come close to replacing that fuel!

    Well, off to water and hug my trees!


  19. Bob West

    Tommy, you are even more cynical than me. You have such a negative view of our government (both dem and repub I suspect) and yet you declare this to be a great nation. A little confusing.

    I agree that you should watch the money. I also believe it is big business that takes advantage of the government. For years we criticized the government for the 600 dollar hammer and not the business that sold it and got the price with deceptive practices.

    Finally I believe we have the proper mix of high energy prices and leadershop in the Executive branch willing to take on the issue of better, cleaner fuels and a generally more environmentally friendly policy.

    I think we can lead. Our young people seem to get it. It is us older folks who need to listen.

    Ok, time to hug my oaks.

  20. Tommy

    Governments do not care about pollution. They only care about two things – survival and power. How that impacts the people they “serve” is of minor concern. If it weren’t so, then our economy would be based on what’s best for the people/planet, not the power-mongers in charge. This is true of every government on earth.

    Governments enjoy people with initiatives that pull people’s eyes away from government’s true intentions/goals. It allows the government to continue with their plans unheeded because the masses attention is drawn to other, insignificant objectives that have little, if any, impact on the government’s agenda. If you don’t believe this to be true, ask yourself how we got where we are today (and it didn’t start eight years ago).

    Be environmentally friendly but, be aware of what your government is really doing without you noticing. Laws aren’t passed as a knee-jerk response to consumer criticism. Bills don’t get padded only because someone wanted a few million in their back pocket. There is no hidden government. They’re doing everything in plain sight. It’s just that most people are so caught up in their personal agendas/causes that they have no idea what is happening before their eyes.

    Just as the government wants it – in this country. Other countries just tell people the way it will be and dissenters are quashed or killed. We do live in a great nation. Going “green” will not make us a leader or greater – just poorer (which is why you will get pandering from the politicians but, little else of any meaningful value).

    If you truly wish to know where the future is going, watch the flow of money. FYI: it’s not into the green projects (which only get a pittance).


  21. Bob West

    I agree it may also save the country but I don’t see how you can stand on a street corner in a City and breathe the air and not say we are polluting. Mexico City is so bad I can’t breathe there. So I know don’t go and I don’t. Ride a plane into large cities and see the smog. When your polluting vehicle drives by my home I smell it and it bothers me. I suffer from Asthma so am sensitive. I think we have to recognize the problem and they make steps, even small, toward correction.

    The unfortunate thing is that the fastest way to change is higher prices but it is also so painful. I think we are going to pay, it is just a matter to whom. And yes it is a world problem so let’s model a good system and be a leader.

  22. Tommy

    It may be a new day in America but, I don’t have to like it. Economics got rid of the trains via the automobile/truck/highway system and unions/price-fixing. The “economy” of a locomotive is not much different than any diesel engine that exists today when you land it in a single small vehicle (Volkswagon has done this already).

    For the people who think green is the answer, a few facts:

    We consume 390 million gallons of gasoline every day. To replace the existing power requirements with electric rechargeables, we would need to build an additional 350 times as many coal/gas/nuclear/wind/water… power plants as currently exist in the US. Even if you achieve average fuel economy standards imposed by CAFE, you will still need to increase our power output from 4.157TW/year to 1,000TW/year!

    Personally, I believe we’re looking at a new set of standards not to save the economy but, to save our country. As others have mentioned, other countries are consuming far more fuel now. Even if we do constrain our consumption (either voluntarily or via mandate), we will continue to pay higher prices for a lower supply (simple economics here). Our government will protect itself via those mandates if the manufacturers will not build more efficient vehicles (and, they won’t since most people don’t want them). I.e., we’re going to see the new standards whether we want them or not.

    In the end, those “up and coming” countries will eventually run out of fuel – as will we. When that happens, the only countries left standing will be those that planned ahead. I see the change coming. I also know it’s not because we’re “killing ourselves with pollution” that we being forced into the change. It does make for great print, though…


  23. Bob West

    Living and sharing and caring with and about others is socialism. I am for it. The free enterprise, cut throat, look out only for yourself system is not for me. I am surprised at all of this reaction from the Rv’ers here. I normally know people who enjoy Rv’s to be very sharing and caring people. If those of us who can reduce emissions and save fuel do so then those who can’t have a better chance to sustain their lifestyle. The business that needs a large truck or the handicapped with special needs. The person who must commute many miles over bad roads. All of these have a better chance when thos of us who can drive low emission hybrids and fuel efficient cars or use public transport when we can. I am very well educated and I know that any thinking person understands that global warming is real. To deny it is to stick your head in the sand and put off the hard decisions for future generations.

    As I said, it is difficult to make dramatic changes in my motorhome use of fuel etc but it is easier to make change in my car and I travel more by car anyway so I make those changes.

    Please don’t push these very positive changes to the extremes that the disabled will be prevented from using vehicles or that business will have no trucks. It is a shame we eliminated so much rail as it was an efficient way to transport however.

    I know it is hard for many of you who supported the head in the sand politics of the past eight years to adjust to a new administration but it is time to do so. Dealing with global warming, resuming stem cell research, improving our world image, gun control, health care reform are all on the table. If that hasn’t sent you over the edge nothing will.

    It is a new day in America. Live with it.

  24. Rick

    To Bob West: “They call us socialists and tree huggers. I am sorry as I am neither so don’t deserve the compliment”

    There in lies the problem, Libs actually think being called a socialist is a compliment.

  25. Ken

    What most people don’t know, if the USA stopped emissions completely, it would not change the world wide air quality much. Until China gets on the ball and stops the wild coal fires and the gross emissions in that large country, we can’t make a dent in the overall quality

  26. Terry Wellman

    Gee I thought this would be about RV information, not politics. I just couldn’t believe the anger here. Let’s just agree to disagree, and get back to RV content.

  27. A.W.Walker

    Mark, sorry that your name came out as Post, not Polk! A case of twitchy ring fingers!

  28. A.W.Walker

    Difley, West, Obrien, John-whats-his-name and all the other intellectual lightweights here have proved a point; which is that they don’t have facts, educational background, or persuasive talent to back up their positions…they only have simple, over-used opinions! At a minimum, Mark Post thought it out before he wrote his article, got some facts together and then he used some writing talent. In contrast, just inspect the grammer, spelling, and lazy thinking to gauge the educational quality of the others’ arguments.

    Well, that’s ok, I guess, but for them to accuse others that “they just don’t get it” is an unacceptable mental shortcut on their part in trying to get me or anyone else to effect a change of mind.

    You have a right to be ridiculous, but you really don’t have anything to offer but opinions without facts. Your leader, Difley, makes a bunch of outrageously weak and radical statements, and you are buying into his line of unsupported snake-oil, fire-and-brimstone, world-is-coming-to-an-end spiel. Sounds a like the beauty-pageant speeches that we heard not long ago from some community organizer from Chicago…lots of flowery language, similar to what Gore gave us, but no substance based in any widely accepted scientific or provable fact. None whatsoever.

    You guys need to work a little harder to get your persuasive gears tuned up. Like if you ‘get it’ why can’t you persuade anyone else to ‘get it’?

    Get your act together on the factual presentation of why you think I should believe your automotive energy solution is the “answer”, and maybe I’ll stop believing we should drill here to get our own oil out of our own land and end our own crisis with foreign oil until we can develop our other energy sources. CAFE standards are fine, and have worked in the past, but there has to be some thought behind the new ones, and if you’ve thought it out, why can’t you present it clearly to me? You haven’t done a very good job on that argument so far, obviously.

  29. Craig Powell

    Right on Mark! This county is heading for a revolution if this liberal garbage does not come to a stop. Obama is dangerous and we are going to pay in a big way for his socialist ways at some point. There is no shortage of oil right here in our own country if the green weenies would let us get too it. I and many other religious gun toting red necks in this country are getting tired of this crap.

  30. Wes Tausend

    Great subject to fire everyone up, Mark!
    Really, it is good to think about what the future will certainly be like someday.

    Results probably won’t be as bad as many fear. Very few of us would give up our fuel ejection technology now …and that was forced upon us too.

    This country was built on a mixture of capitalism and socialism and, as usual, balance is still the key. Take all the “Geoffrey Styles, founder of energy consultants, GSW Strategy Group” with a grain of salt. Think about who stands to lose market share in the case of new “high-wire” energy substitutes and extraordinarily simple powertrains. Expect expensive adverse campaigns.

    Whether a golf cart, or heavy duty locomotive, electric transmission systems are much simpler and more reliable than the hydraulic systems we grew up with. The new hybrid Chevy truck tranny’s ( http://www.hybridcars.com/trucks/gm-hybrid-pickup-trucks.html) are an attempt to mix the two, but eventually I expect all heavy-duty powertrains to be simple electric …like locomotives, or the non-hydraulic Prius. By the way, these trucks already get significantly higher city mileage than their bretheren …and we should soon see a van powered this way for the handicapped. They’re just the beginning. Most miles are city miles overall.

    I have to confess, I work for a major railroad and watched the new Siemens ( http://www.usa.siemens.com/en/ ) developed locomotive solid-state inverters make hybrid tech much more feasable in the early ’90’s. Yes, the same inverters as our beloved generators, but much larger. The Prius uses a middle size inverter. GM pick-ups, a little larger. Same priciple, though.

    I also have to confess that my wife and I own both a Prius and a Ford Excursion SUV. During the summer, the Prius gets 44 mpg back and forth to work and the huge V-10 SUV gets about 9 city. If my wife drove both equal city miles, she would average over 26 mpg with the combo. Not a bad average, 26 city, eh?
    But we don’t drive them equally. We drive the Prius mostly because that’s what it’s good at (except in heavy snow). The gas guzzling SUV can’t be beat for towing our TT or the occasional large group foray. We consider them the perfect matched pair.

    As I said, great subject. Thanks, Mark.


  31. Skip

    Way to go Mark. When the other side can’t come up with a good argument, they resort to name calling. They just do, so we will live with it. I, for one, vote for Capitalism. And yes, I will take Social Security. I’ve paid into it for about 50 years. All I am doing is getting back what I put in and that is not socialism.

  32. As I set here on the evening of my 66 birthday I figured Obama will be getting into my shorts before too long. If he can get 30 mpg+ from my 38’MH maybe I won’t mind losing my 2nd amendment, rights, medical coverage (as I have now),my hard earned pension and a host of other rights we now take for granted. God Bless us all

  33. Dave

    Socialism and capitalism are economic systems. Democracy is a representative form of government. They have nothing to do with each other. There are socialist democracies like Sweden and capitalist authoritarian governments like China. The United States is not a capitalist economy, but what economists call a mixed economy. Social security redistributes income and so is an example of socialism. I assume you aren’t planning on taking it, right?

  34. Holy cow, I don’t agree Mr. West at all, of course I meant Mark Polk. That’s what comes of spending four hours of tiring labor pulling heads off a 460.
    Sorry for the mistake.

  35. Steve J

    Way to go Mark – you are right on the mark! Look at how the socialists attacked you personally (name calling, etc) but never answered your question about used battery disposal. Follow the link to a Washington Post editorial that sums up the Volt issue very clearly.


    In closing, according to the Thesaurus, there are two antonyms for socialism – democracy and capitalism. That says it all for me!

  36. The adult cartoon South Park had residents driving hybrid cars called “Pious’s.” The drivers were smug in their belief that they were saving the world. They were so smug that they polluted the air with smug. Narrow-minded, like most zealots, they wanted everyone to adopt their beliefs. There seems to be a lot of that going around now days.

    The same group of Pious drivers are greenhouse gas cultists who love ethanol as a fuel but disregard the production of large amounts of CO2 from the fermentation of grain to make ethanol.

    They want everyone to use compact fluorescent lights (CFL’s) but are ignorant of the fact the electronics in CFL’s draw non-linear currents that create significant inefficiencies in the power distribution systems. Does that mean that CFL’s are bad? No way, but they’re not world savers.

    I agree with Mr. West and his golf cart analogy. Lining up like lemmings behind poorly thought out legislation or money driven carbon foot print regulations will not result in saving the planet but it will crush whatever our country has left in productive capacity and help to destroy our economy

  37. Gary Dubuque

    In my lifetime emission standards were introduced, seatbelts were required, and safety standards of automobiles were enforced. Do we need to go back to the era of Corvair or Pintos just so some can have their way, the right to buy machines that kill the innocent?
    Granted, freedom is worth fighting for, but with freedom comes responsibility. That includes the responsibility to be part of your community. If fossil fuel sources run out, does that mean we fight for the last remaining reserves because we have the “right” to take it for ourselves? How responsible is that – to declare our survival as a nation depends upon gas?
    Even if global warming is not a dooms day proposition, there are many more people in this world who would be driving powerful automobiles, if they could. Eventually they will be able. As the rest of the world becomes more modern (like China and India), perhaps they will decide they need all the gas and Americans can just wait for their next turn, because they already had their fun.
    Without alternatives, what would you do then? Go to war to fight for your right to burn fossil fuel? In my mind that seems to be a pretty weak and lame excuse for the nation that is so proud that it can do great things like putting a man on the moon.
    I can’t in good conscience call the moon landing a socialist plot to destroy freedom in the US. Nor can I endorse that stricter standards in transportation are a corruption of american values and the american way of life.
    I know I’ll still be able to RV, even if that changes with the times. Perhaps it could be more like “boon docking” conservation, when I’m crusing along the highway. I dream of the day I can go more than the 10+ MPG when gas prices are $4 (or more) each gallon. Filling my 100 gallon tank costs now. But if I could get the economy of a locomotive engine, I’d sure be a happy camper.

  38. Donna Morgan

    I commute 90 miles each day to work and most of it is on a major highway. My current car is a Ford 500 with extra safety features that I hope I never need to use. I feel quite safe in my full-size car and average 25 mpg. Our second vehicle is an F 150 with larger engine. The previous F 150 with smaller engine just didn’t make it pulling our travel trailer up hills. We also live in snow country with dirt roads so need the AWD in the Ford 500 and 4WD in the truck. We’ve worked hard for what we have and don’t want to be told what type of vehicles to buy. If they make a full-size hybrid car with a reasonbnable price tag and AWD/4WD I might consider it.

  39. Dave

    In the spirit of knowing what we are saying:
    Liberalism is a broad class of political philosophies that considers individual liberty and equality to be the most important political goals. The first modern liberal state was the United States of America, founded on the principle that “all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to insure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
    So yes, happy and proud to be called a liberal, on this Memorial Day especially.

  40. Carson Ricard

    Thank You Mark for this post. I read RV.Net and bypass Bob Diffy because of his liberal ideas. We are a FREE COUNTRY but what OBAMA is doing is taking away our FREEDOM by passing laws such as this…NO I GET IT!! As long as the American people go along with these hair brain ideas such as Global Warming they think we get it but when people don’t go along with it they hollar WE DON”T GET IT!! Gee whiz I drive a vehicle until the wheels fall off so Bob Diffy don’t talk to me about recyling and reusing a car. I am also handicapped using a wheel chair so explain to me how in the world will I get my equipment in a Smart Car or hybird car? Are you and the rest of the nut cases going to help me purchase a vehicle large enough to put all this equipment in when my van has to be replaced? I think not and yes I enjoy RVing large enough for once again house all my handicapped machinery and Yes, someone else has to drive it . Keep it up Mark and continue to write about things such as this as someone has to take a stand for people that Bob Diffy and others like him don’t understand exist. One final note I do recyle but somethings just can’t be recyled and for people such as myself it will hurt in the long run with this CAFE plan.

  41. truman

    you all might want to read up on Tesla Motors The inventor of it all Nikola Tesla What a mind!!!!!! But I still like my diesel truck!!!! for hauling my fifth wheel!!! Have a good one

  42. Bob West

    No you don’t get it. Your parochial thinking is why we are in the mess and didn’t get going on alternative fuels after the Arab Oil Embargo in the early ’70’s. Mary, nobody is going to take away your home on wheels but when you need to go to the grocery store or the mall why not take something that will not pollute. There are vehicles for which we have no choice but to burn more fuel and perhaps alternatives are less possible but when we have the choice we should embrace it.

    The ramblings of these people who claim to free market people are amazing. They call us socialists and tree huggers. I am sorry as I am neither so don’t deserve the compliment.

    By the way Mary the batteries used in hybrids are fully recyclable. We are on a good path lets stay with it and fix this problem and then next year we can take away your guns.

  43. Hi Bob I was waiting for your post,

    My article was mostly based on the Chevy Volt. GM has spent a billion dollars on this plug-in electric hybrid, much of it was federal money (I mean tax payers money)

    I think I understand some of this stuff. I understand that the new standard for improving the average fuel economy for MY 2012 to MY 2016 requires an average fuel economy standard of 35.5 mpg for all vehicles. This equates to 39 mpg for cars and 30 mpg for trucks. This is an increase from the current average of 25 mpg for all vehicles. I understand this will save a huge amount on oil dependency, but I think it comes at a price too.

    The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) has expressed concern that smaller lighter vehicles will lead to more traffic fatalities on our highways. I think 40,000 annual fatalities are enough already. I understand that there is a significant increase in cost passed on to the consumer for these newer more fuel efficient vehicles. This is fine for people who can afford to pay more, but what about those who can’t afford it. Just a side note, before Henry and the boys came up with an assembly line, to drive the cost of manufacturing a vehicle down, few people could afford to own one back in the day and opted to keep their horse and wagon. I understand that if more and more people are buying fuel efficient vehicles there will be added expense for manufacturers to build larger less fuel efficient vehicles like work trucks. I need a truck in my business and in everyday life. I understand that there is a good chance that we who need a larger vehicle will pay more for it. And I think I understand that when Americans get better fuel economy we drive more miles.

    I’m just not sure how much will be saved and how much will be spent.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am all for advancement in technology when it makes good sense. And I am all for doing my part to help the environment. I recycle aluminum, plastic, cardboard, newspaper, magazines and lead acid battery’s.

    I do like owning vehicles, I always have, I’ll blame that on my father. I am an old school muscle car fanatic too. Sometimes I am guilty of trading a vehicle in every 3 or 4 years, and for many years it was out of necessity when I would get stationed at a different military base every 3 years, usually out of the country. But in my defense I do have a 1969 Ford Torino GT, an 1981 Jeep CJ7, an 81 Pontiac Trans Am and a 1948 Willys pickup that I have been recycling for more years than I care to remember.

    I really do get most of this stuff, and this is just my opinion on one topic with lots of controversy.

  44. Phil

    Mary G,

    Your comment reminds me of an old joke: You can live in your car but you can’t drive your house!

    Kind of pedestrian- sorry.

  45. Ron Swafford

    I’m just glad that there is someone out there other than Bob Difley and his liberal, tree hugging drivel speaking their mind. I agree with Mark’s point of view, regardless of whether he has all the facts straight or not. ALGORE has hoodwinked so many people that they actually believe that WE can actually impact global warming enough to make a difference. I read many of the real scientists (not ALGORE) who so totally disagree with the human causes of global warming that is is just amazing that people STILL think Al (burns more fossil fuel than any average American) Gore know of what he talks. A simple look at our solar system and the magnitude of it and think that humans can really impact what naturally happens in the world are either self-deluded or stupid. Yes, I recycle when I can, save fuel, when possible and generally agree with the need to stop using materials that won’t break down for centuries (plastic and styrofoam, etc.) but I will continue to buy real vehicles that burn fossil fuel because I want to go where I want to go and carry what I want to to carry when I want to do it! It’s called Democracy, self-determination and individualism (versus socialism.)

  46. Juanita

    Hey, guys (and girl). I don’t usually spend a lot of time reading blogs, but this one caught my eye. I got a good chuckle out of Mark P’s blog, and, though I am not “up” on the deets re: electric/hybrid/gas/race cars (I try, but there’s just more info than I have time to absorb) I can see that he, along with the other contributors, has valid points to make.

    I’m a Western Canadian girl, and happen to know that we export a lot of our electricity to California, among other places. However, we are not using an unlimited resource in electricity, either, using current common sources. If that great state, and our fair countries together, could put more $$ into alternative electricity sources, electricity would have more of a draw for me.

    We are probably not going to stop needing fossil fuels any time soon, if ever. But using them more efficiently, and making battery production and disposal more environmentally friendly (ever seen a factory without emissions?), and finding clean renewable sources for the electricity that is supposedly so much better than fossil fuels, will get us farther ahead. I’d like the earth to be cleaner for my kids and grands, too. I do my little part. Can’t the “big guys,” with far greater resources than I have, do theirs?

    A lot to think about and consider when dealing with improving the environment. I recycle. Does the process used to recycle some of those products have an even greater footprint than the trash would have made? I don’t know, I can only hope it’s the right thing. Am I saving a little part of the environment by using a reusable bag for groceries, but perhaps ending up buying more plastic bags for my garbage, since I have no used plastic grocery bags to use for that? Would biodegradable bags be the answer? Is the use of electricity for recharging batteries creating a larger footprint than using disposable – especially if disposed of properly? Again, I assume so. Was promoting fuel with corn or canola additives such a good idea, since global food costs rose, and considerable emissions were created from the production of said fuel? I guess I’ll continue to do what little I can, and see.

  47. Mary G

    Okay, Maybe our grandchildren will be able to breath the air, but will they be able to pay for these “golf carts”? (Also known as clown cars).
    Our RV gets 8 mpg, but we can live in it if we choose to do so. It’s great if we need to evacuate from hurricane territory. Can you do that in a clown car?
    Also, what are we going to do with all the spent lithium batteries?

  48. When I first read your blog, I too was ready to to point out your misunderstanding ot the CAFE standards. But Bob West, Pat O’Brien, Dave, and Phil pretty much covered it. The rest don’t geet it, though George Miller floats back and forth. I will just add one thing: Why do you trade vehicles every four years? Or don’t you believe is recycling and reusing? Your vehicles will last a lot longer than four years and would be a much wiser use of the natural resources that went into manufacturing it.

  49. mark d

    So Bob diffley can post over and over again about raising gas taxes and other dubiously effecitve ideas in the name of being “green”, but posts that don’t support green theory are not welcome? it’s freedom of choice as long as we make the choice you support? Disappointing.

  50. Phil

    Mark, you think like many of the last administration’s supporters did/do. I would offer to you that the situation is far more complex than “free market”, “free choice” or “less power”. First off, they are all myths or, in the best case, a matter of degree.

    As to power, electric motors do much of the heavy lifting in industry. Remember that nearly all trains use electric motors as do nuclear submarines. They just happen to have their own localized power plants to generate the electricity. One other anecdote. The very first cars produced were electric because they didn’t yet have gasoline.

    My observation about your post is that it’s pretty “standard” for many Americans who think something is being taken away. Try looking at it as something you’re being given: the opportunity to develop clean, non-polluting, transportation so that your grandchildren will be able to play outside without having to wear a gas mask and the chance to be “free” of middle eastern political influences.

    One of the biggest benefits you will see in the RV industry as a result of these new targets, is a major change in the way they design. No longer will they simply build a house and stick it on a chassis but instead will make the appropriate choices in materials and engineering to significantly reduce the operating weight of their vehicles without compromising style or power. I own a TrailManor product because they bother to “engineer” their systems. I suspect that any RV manufacturer could take a lesson from these guys for thinking outside of the box.

    I’d say give it a chance to work. If it doesn’t, we can always change our minds 😉

  51. Art Stebes

    If I wanted to read the political ravings of some right wing bloger I’d read a political blog. The same holds true for this article’s ideas on economics. The author raves against socialism, which actually has a pretty precise definition, but I drought he actually has any idea of what it is. Next time why not keep entries on an RV blog about RVs?

  52. Dave

    I have no idea what Tony is talking about but then neither does he, apparently. Google ‘Chevy Volt’ and you will learn:

    Chevy Volt is designed to move more than 75 percent of America’s daily commuters without a single drop of gas.3 That means for someone who drives less than 40 miles a day, Chevy Volt will use zero gasoline and produce zero emissions.

    Unlike traditional electric cars, Chevy Volt has a revolutionary propulsion system that takes you beyond the power of the battery. It will use a lithium-ion battery with a gasoline-powered, range-extending engine that drives a generator to provide electric power when you drive beyond the 40-mile battery range.

    This is from the socialist nitwits at GM.

  53. Bob West

    If you think the Volt will only go 50 miles and then be done you have not read very much about it and are as misinformed as the rest of the article. Thanks John. A bit too much over the top. I think most will figure out the tongue in cheek of your commentary. We have a problem. It has to be fixed. We are oil dependent and our cars are killing our air. Hybrid technology is proven and if those who can only drive on electric it will allow those who can’t to do so. If each of us does what we can it will make a difference. My motorhome gets about 10 and I can’t do much about that although I have slowed in an attempt to do better and I tow a smaller Smart Car instead of Prius on a dolly to improve things a bit. I don’t object to the guy in the 43 ft DP but I do have a concern about him/her towing a hummer. I suspect a smaller more fuel efficient vehicle would be possible. We need to work together to solve this. Attacks on the good efforts without solutions just don’t do anyone any good. Misinformed rhetoric just does no good.

  54. George Miller

    Mark, I am glad you made it to the forum, These nuts will enjoy the fruits of free enterprise but jump the socialism at the first chance. They forget LBJ and FDR but want another chance with BHO. The free market will change from petroleum when it make economic sense unless these do gooders intervene, like they have with Medicare, Medicaid, the USPO, and other big government agencies run efficiently with no fraud. George Miller
    P.S. I can hardly wait for my 30mpg RV

  55. John

    I agree completely. Let these socialist nitwits move if they don’t like our system.
    I for one, worked hard to have my choice of vehicles, whether a gas guzzler or not.
    If the tree huggers want to fix something let them start with India or China, not here.
    These global warming, ecology huggers can pound sand if they don’t like my Hummer.

  56. Pat O'Brien

    I agree with Bob – a ridiculous commentary. Thank goodness when Henry and the boys started selling cars for much more than what a horse cost at that time, the masses went with the idea of the car. It’s not about economics; it’s about reducing the pollution that could very well kill us while we speed down the highway in our gas guzzlers.

  57. Bob,

    In the article I am discussing the Chevy Volt not a gas/electric hybrid like the Prius. The Volt is intended to move daily commuters up to 40 miles on one charge, without using any gas.

    The Volt is an electric car. Electricity is the only thing that drives the wheels. The gas engine’s job in the Volt is to only run the generator that charges the battery as it loses its charge.

    On a 240 volt charge it will take about 3 hours to recharge and on a 120 volt charge it will take about 8 hours to fully recharge.

  58. Bob West

    What a ridiculous commentary. I am shocked it made it to this forum. You really don’t get it with hybrids. The plug-in allows you to drive the first 40-50 miles using electric motor which recharged for very little cost and had zero emissions. Then your gas motor kicks in and charges the electric while still taking you down the road. Enormous savings in fuel and emissions. Better engines, lighter weight construction and yet safer by using technology already in many cars-see race cars-will mean better RV’s with more options. The payback illustration is old fashioned stupidity that got us where we are today fighting for energy independence. Yes I have a Prius. It is a great car. Quiet and handles well. I prefer to drive it. I also have a Smart Car. Tows like a dream and great city car for one or two people. Looking forward to new Prius with even better features. More room, less weight and better fuel efficiency.

    Please stop writing if this is all you have to offer.