ROTFL as you wildly point fingers every were else while supporting CAFE regulations that kill people, kids, and babies ... I have NEVER told you big cars squish small cars, another of your fabrications to point fingers away from your position. You have frequently trolled with that assertion.
Three primary variables in fuel economy: Drivetrain efficiency, Vehicle Mass, Vehicle Aerodynamic drag profile.
Drivetrain efficiency gains from hybrid technologys like the Prius, are very expensive, raising the price about five to fifteen thousand dollars depending on vehicle size and electric range needed. That would nearly double the price of a small economy car today, and about a 50% increase for a luxury car.
Vehicle mass directly affects the energy and fuel needed for stop and go driving, as well as operation where large elevation changes are necessary. In general, less mass means higher fuel economy and lower production costs, unless exotic's like carbon fiber are used.
Vehicle drag profile directly affects the energy and fuel needed to operate on the highways, and is a relatively minor issue at lower city street speeds. In general, a smaller drag profile, generally means higher fuel economy and a smaller vehicle (and smaller mass) as well.
Given consumer sticker price adversion to small expensive cars, the latter two options are the most likely to be used to meet the more agressive CAFE rules.
Excellent engineering can minimize deaths and injuries to some extent, but as mini and micro cars become common, there is simply not enought crumple zone space in the frame, and small stiff/strong cabin structures do not provide the crash "ride down" to protect the occupants at speeds above 35mph. The excellent engineering in the Smart Car has shown excellent results for a car of it's size, and still is very very unsafe in comparison to a typical full sized car at speeds above 35mph. That was clear in the IIHS testing where the dummies pushed through the air bag deployment and contacted the interior, due to lack of "ride down" space in the cabin, and lack of crumple zones in the front frame.
If there is a safety mandate, effectively removing/limiting Vehicle mass and drag profile reductions from the table, forcing hybrid solutions on small cars would double their price. In some cases, mini and micro cars like the Mini's and Smart cars, the frame and cabin would have to be scaled up for safety as well, increasing their cost. Few will be sold as people dig gas hogs from the scrap yards and keep them on the streets until oil prices shoot thru the roof. Effectively defeating CAFE regulations.
Side impacts with trees, poles, and parked cars as someone drifts out of their lane continue to kill. Ditto when someone runs a light or stop sign and is hit from the side. Again we see that smaller lighter cars, have a much higher risk of death and injury.
Small cars kill people, kids and babies ... that is not worth reducing oil consumption with CAFE mandates. Larger cars have significantly better protection against death and injury, at the price of a little more oil use.
As for the reduction in deaths during the last two years, there are a lot of reasons other than car safety at play here. Agressive crackdowns on DUI, seatbelts, cell phone use, combined with fewer miles driven because of poor economy, high unempolyment, and high fuel prices are all factors since 2009 when the economy bottomed out. Add to that mild winters with less snow, rain, ice, and less rain in the summers, which frequently contribute to accidents where driving to fast for conditions is the primary cause listed for the accident.
As I've suggested before, doing a lot of research in the NASS database, pretty much shows that ... and allows one to examine each accident leading to death and serious injury in detail. It becomes pretty obvious after reading a few hundred single vehicle accident reports. For smaller cars its the impacts with trees, poles, and stationary cars kill a lot of smaller car occupants at relatively slow speeds as compared to larger cars.
Do the research: http://www.nhtsa.gov/NASS
Then do the field work, regularly visit local junk yards, and look at the cars that have hit trees, poles, and other stationary objects. In many states, they will still have plates on them, and you can see the year they were junked (last year with valid tags). You can then find those cars in NASS when they are old enough, to get the details.
I spent 20 years in junk yards regularly searching for car and truck parts for myself and others ... I've seen thousands of highly deformed cars, that obviously killed someone.
I happen to love SUVs. I used to own a Jeep Grand Cherokee, and it was one of the best vehicles I ever owned (218,000 miles on it when I sold it still running), and one of my favorites. It actually got 25mpg on the highway, and combined city/hwy about 20 MPG (1993 model). Of course to commute around in, I bought a Toyota, but I don't know why, because it didn't get much better gas milage at over 1000 pounds lighter. Pitiful, and it shows that there is a lot of wiggle room in the MPG department, the automotive companies just need a push. The avg now is just above where they said that they couldn't go years ago, but the deaths on the highway are going down and have been for some time... Hmmmm... We also know that reducing the speed limit to 55 on the highway will save lives, but we like to drive fast, it's easier to blame CAFE standards, which, by the way did not increase between 1980 and now. 30 years and the industry finally go there, kicking and screaming, and the yearly motor vehicle deaths actually wne down over this period. SO... the reality of it is the industry DID make the current CAFE standard of 27.5, AND the deaths have gone DOWN. Totally_Lost is again totally out of gas: The evidence just does not support that theory.
"The number of deaths – and deaths relative to the total population – have declined over the last two decades. From 1979 to 2005, the number of deaths per year decreased 14.97% while the number of deaths per capita decreased by 35.46%. Traffic fatalities in 2010 were the lowest in 62 years."
And... no problem, stop making outrageous and unsupportable commentary designed to incite, and I wont' call you out for it. I don't defend anyone killing kids, that is your fantasy and just plain stupid (for lack of a better word). My baby and wife were in our first Prius when it was totaled in a 45mph accident, with a Dodge Caravan. when I saw the car I thought they would both be dead, but both walked away. How many people are killed in SUVs that roll over because they are top-heavy or in a minor accident? Maybe we should get rid of top-heavy trucks because they are they are not safe and are dangerous for the smaller cars. Should we outlaw left hand turns because people are killed all the time by this problem? Out-lawing left hand turns will save gas and lives. Maybe we should put governors on cars so they can't go over the speed limit, or automatically stop at red lights or stop signs. Maybe we should look deeper into auto deaths than the CAFE standards. Let's face it, the roads will never be truly safe. I think that automotive companies should not cop out by making lightweight unsafe cars, and figure out the multitude of other options that can increase gas mileage without sacrificing safety. They should take all the millions they use to fight the standards and make biased studies, and hire more and/or better engineers and make safer more economical cars that Americans can be proud to own, and won't have to stick a mortgage sized part of our paychecks into the tank. How about that for a boost in the economy, people have hundreds of more dollars a month to spend on stuff.
Please do not tell me one more time that big cars squish small cars, that's a dead horse, everyone here in this forum has had physics 101. You keep defending and agreeing with reports that are designed to fight CAFE standards - not get to a real solution to safety on the road. Your basic premise (CAFE standards kill people) is your opinion. You think CAFE standards kill people, and I think that bad driving and bad car design are the culprits to death. I also think you make too many excuses for automotive companies that pander to the oil industry. They spend large amounts of money funding research to fight any law that forces them to put out safer more econimical cars, and you are sucking up that propaganda and propagating it, just like a smoker believes the reports that tobacco is not harmful, because you know the tobacco companies want to know the truth... lol.
Except for the fact that deaths in single car accidents, and accidents with another smaller vechicle account for a substantial majority of the deaths and injuries. Those are the critical facts, which are not desputed, and continue to be the subject of recent testing in the last 5 years.
The smoke and mirrors by SUV hating environmentalists, is focusing on a much smaller number of deaths, where larger vechicles are also involved. The facts are, if the safety for single and similar sized car collisions is improved, it will also improve the safety for impacts with larger cars/trucks/suv.
Show me a report that de-bunks the increased risk of deaths and injuries in mini and micro cars, involved in single car accidents, and accidents with other cars under 2,200lbs, that directly addresses the science behind testing done in the last 5 years.
What a caveman, (Totally_Lost) your views on environmentalists is skewed so badly, and your anger towards them makes you sound like a crazed Oil Tycoon. Your conspiracy theories are amoung the craziest I have ever heard. Get a life and stop being such a bigot. Your $100 dollar story shows your disconnection from reality :P
Did you even read your own article? Your article in the Washington times (written in 2009)refers to the older studies prior to 2002 that were debunked in 2004. It only refers to the number of deaths in 2004-2005, not the cause, it is only inferred.
This from the article is close to true: "The question is one of simple physics. Smaller, lighter cars do not offer occupants the same protection as larger, heavier vehicles when they collide with other objects."
Also, from the article you refused to read:
"Opponents of government regulation of fuel economy often cite downweighting as the primary reason why CAFE standards should not be increased. A lightweight vehicle poses less risk to other road users, while a heavier vehicle provides less risk to its occupants. Some evidence exists that proportionally reducing the mass of all vehicles, or even just the heaviest cars and light trucks, could have a beneficial effect on safety.
On the other hand, increasing fuel economy does not necessarily require decreasing weight."
Yes, Detroit fell down on the quality job and didn't realize they were subject to the basic rules of competition. Detroit spent about three decades without substantial competition. That changed in the mid-1970s. Detroit didn't start to catch up on quality until the late 1980s.
You state "I guess since then, there have been more reports that need de-bunking."
Did you consider that the 2004 report was actually de-bunked between 2005-2012 by the many concensus reports documenting the poor safety of smaller cars? The science and credentials behind those reports are not small minority view players.
Previously I presented:
The facts are well reported: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/31/small-cars-kill/
"The scientific evidence on car size and safety is overwhelming. The National Academy of Sciences, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Congressional Budget Office, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and numerous academic studies are all in agreement on this point: Higher miles-per-gallon requirements lead to more deaths from car accidents."
So, let's get back on topic. As you state it "By setting an example for the world, Americans can make the world a better place. The world follows our example, so we have to set the right one."
The example that CAFE sets, is that it's ok to kill people by the tens of thousands, and injure people by the hundreds of thousands, producing unsafe smaller cars, to save oil, for someone else in the world to use.
The example is that American's are childishly stupid believing they can save oil that they don't even own, buy refusing to bid for it on the open market.
The example is that American's are grid locked by environmentalists, and are unable to develop a mutually agreeable long term energy policy to avoid complete economic failure as energy prices run up during the next 10-30 years with oil depletion.
The example is that American's lack the leadership to get anything right these days, because of democracy stiffled by minority views that are without basis in fact.
I personally believe it's wrong to force the production of unsafe cars, trying to save oil, that we can not save.
I personally believe it's wrong to be the "Baby Killers" by promoting smaller cars with high G-forces in decelleration during crashes that kill, in the Holy Grail "fight" to improve fuel efficiency at the cost of lives of children.
I'm certainly not throwing my arms up in the air ... I'm simply being realistic, accepting the depletion of oil is a certainty, and accepting that there are a lot of less than optimal solutions ahead, and that it's time to start making those hard choices BEFORE we lack the economic ability to even construct alternative solutions to oil.
But we do not need to kill our children, and our citizens, trying to break dependence on oil. That is NOT the example we should be setting for the world.
My point is that India, China, and other developing nations have NO intention to significantly back off oil consumption in the short term ... as Oil is a critical limited resource, that they are going to use to their best advantage to grow their economies before the world is forced into a free fall recession as fossil fuel energy prices run up with the depletion of reserves. They are using the profits from cheap fossil fuels to build a dominate position in alternative energy, and other technologies while they have this limited one time chance ... certainly china ... which is one heck of a good one time end game strategy to dominate America long term.
The choices out of this for America, include playing the end game the same way with development of difficult to process oil reserves, like oil shale, that might by some reports, push the oil end game out to about 100 years from now, which environmentalists opposed to strip mining are blocking.
Natural gas is also finite, and probably has peaked as well or will shortly, with late life production technologies like fracking that are also on the environmentalists hit list to stop.
The easiest alternative energy to harness for electricity is large scale hydro power that is also on the environmentalist hit list.
The primary technology out of this problem is fission or fusion based power, which are also high on the environmentalists hit list.
Most people thought environmentalists were supporting large scale solar and wind power, but it turns out even those technologies have a very difficult approval history when you start talking about installing solar collection panels covering many square miles of open space, or installing thousands of wind turbines across open space. A wind farm near here in Colorado struggled for several years to get off the ground, and was finally successfully blocked, and the project cancelled to the joy of many not wanting the visual polution and noise polution in their back yards.
So I find the $100 bill analogy pretty accurate. Environmentalists, like children, fight like children, without helping plan a workable long term solution to America's and the worlds energy problem. Like children they believe that you can save something you do not own, and that because they can see it, it's somehow theirs to save and use in the future. So, just like the $100 bill, it's only yours if you take it ... maybe, as it really did belong to someone else. Well, the problem is the oil that environmentalists want to save, does belong to someone else, and they are selling it to the highest bidder ... and American environmentalists believe that if they can block American bidders from buying it, that it will not be sold and they can save the resource .... sorry but that simply isn't happening ... the oil is sold and used every day around the world and American environmentalists are not going to stop that (at least not without a world domination war, that thankfully isn't likely to happen because a lot of environmentalists are also pacifists). On the other hand, it's not out of the question that a 3rd world war will happen over energy reserves as fossil fuels decline and run up in price, and send world economies into free fall.
Fission or fusion based power is the likely choice to prevent a 3rd world war over energy, which right now is being blocked world wide by environmentalists.
So ... at some point either the environmentalists need to stop bickering between themselves as they block nearly every energy solution and choose the least harmful solution that will work, or America is likely to become an economically crippled 3rd rate nation inside the next 90 years.
One conspiracy theory is that China/Russia/Islam/Boggeymen are covertly funding environmentalists groups to ensure America's complete economic failure by blocking domestic access to all energy sources necessary to remain competitive as fossil fuels are depleted.
I'd rather believe is more about stupidity, childishness, ignorance, and the lack of strong leadership in government and industry to bring the environmentalists into reality and participate in a long term mutually agreed energy development policy.
As energy efficiency becomes more and more a concern for makers of electronics devices, researchers are coming up with new ways to harvest energy from sound vibration, footsteps, and even electromagnetic fields in the air.
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