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Oracle of Delphi

Don't rule out options in quest for fuel economy

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Automotive News

July 30, 2007 - 12:01 am

As legislators, regulators and automakers look for ways to improve fuel economy, they must remember that consumers will make the ultimate choices. And that's going to cause a few surprises.

One example: Consumers are bidding up the prices of used cars and trucks equipped with fuel-saving diesel engines. That contradicts conventional wisdom, which holds that Americans gave up on diesels in the 1980s.

Some environmentalists turn up their noses at diesel engines, but technological advances have made diesels more palatable to U.S. consumers.

The Power Information Network estimates that U.S. consumers will buy more than 500,000 diesel-powered vehicles this year, mostly heavy-duty pickups. But sales are expected to double by 2011, when more diesel cars are available.

In their quest to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, some environmentalists are betting on vehicles powered by fuel cells. But high-volume production is still way in the future.

Other technologies -- such as diesel-electric hybrids -- may offer environmental benefits comparable to fuel cells and at less cost.

The message ought to be clear: The government shouldn't craft regulations or tax incentives that favor one technology over another.

Nor should automakers invest all of their r&d dollars in a technological silver bullet such as fuel cells. In the United States, consumers will want a variety of choices.

In a market economy, that's the way it ought to be.

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In a market economy, that's the way it ought to be.

Supply and demand :smilewide:

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Supply and demand :smilewide:

Yeah but the Lawmakers do not recognize that. So doesn't the press. :deadhorse:

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