Tom, Ray and your car's MPG



So… what do you think? Are higher federally-mandated MPG standards a

wise idea, in the interest of national security… or do Tom and Ray

have their headlights up their tailpipes? Should we let the

marketplace rule, regardless of a greater national interest?

Tell us know what you think!

You can share your thoughts right here.

And thanks.


The marketplace should be the decision maker.


The market place has NEVER ruled in these things. MPG and polution have NEVER been influenced by the market. Mainly because if the automanufacturers don’t offer a choice then we’ll never know it exists.

The greatest increases in MPG was when it was mandated by the government. Funny how the auto-industry was able to all of a sudden make cars that are heavier, faster yet get MUCH BETTER gas mileage then they did 30 years ago.

The same thing for polution. The automanufacturers would have spent $0 in R&D to make less poluting cars if it wasn’t mandated. Back in the 60’s they were given tax incentives to come up with ways to make a car polute less. After 2 years and MILLIONS of dollars in tax incentives…the big 4 went to congress with a report saying that cars can NOT be made to polute less. Funny how things have changed since they wer MANDATED to come up with ways to make cars polute less. Funny how every car manufacturer can somehow make a car that meets California’s standards…yet sell a completely different car that polutes 1000% more to countries in South America where there is no standard.

Personally I believe so.  The only alternative I see is to impose a serious pollution tax.  BTW I like the tax better.  Maybe it can reduce the national debt that the current war is loading onto the backs or our children and grand children.  

I don't believe the market place is functional here.  You do not have a truly free competitive market.  There are too few players and the customers don't bear the cost of pollution nor the cost of things like wars to get and protect oil supplies, rather the suffer those cost but their choice of cars as it is not related to how much of it they pay.


There can never be a “market driven” buyer, since there are so many regulations that dictate what the car companies manufacture. The market doesn’t rule – look at what happened to the electric car in California–there was a market but the industry not only removed the product, they destroyed it.

There is not a free market. The industries of auto and oil are intermixed to the degree that there will not be a general trend to increase MPG, regardless of the facts that it is do-able. Alas, the stick is likely the only way to motivate, that or a general uprising of the buying public, which I don’t see happening anytime soon.


Funny, Last week I wrote an article about the same exact thing for college. 100 years ago, the government took a very laissez faire approach to market, and what effort did industry make to do things for ‘national interest’? Nothing. It wasn’t until the government decided that it’s role is to protect it’s citizens that quality of life for the average joe really increased.
It’s the governments role to really get it going, because it doesn’t look like the market is doing it quickly enough.
Tom and Ray say we could meet the 35mpg mark in 5 years if we made it a priority, I would say we can do it in a year.
Anybody ever heard of hydrogen boost systems? This is enriching the vaporized gasoline and oxygen mixture with volatile hydrogen gas for better combustion. Timing can be changed, and the levels of pollution are drastically lower. THis country has ingenuity, let’s use it.


While I think that some GOVT regulation is necessary, I do not think the 35 MPG standard will work. Hear are some of my reasons

  • The market DOES dictate what is sold. The prius is a great example of that, hear we have a car that costs more then a non-hybrid competitor, YET still sells at almost full sticker, because people want the green stamp of approval. However looks at the Accord, Camary, and highlander as a few examples of how Hybrids don?t work as people do not get the same green stamp of approval from there friends and neighbors.

  • I don?t believe there is an reason that a car company today would not have a more fuel efficient fleet of vehicle if it was technologically possible. This would be a HUGE competitive advantage, and that is what truly drives the market.

  • Despite what some people think, not every one can make do with a compact car, many family?s need suburbans, and mini-vans, etc to get around. Pick up trucks are NECESSARY PART OF MANY PEOPLES LIFES. It would be great if every one drove a Metro or a Civic, or Corolla… what ever, but this is not practical. Bob Lutz put it best when he said that telling automakers that they MUST make cars/trucks that get 35MPG + is like telling America, your fat so we are going to only make small sized clothes so that you have to loose weight. The argument just does not work.

  • I am in favor of a tax at the pumps, if you must drive a vehicle that does not get high MPG this should be your right. But if the price of gas hits $4-5 a gallon you will see many people who are driving these inefficient vehicles because of there “bling”, or “status” stop driving them as often.


I keep seeing that the US, with 5% of the world’s population consumes over 20% and some say 25% of the current supply of petroleum. This is not sustainable and vehicle fuel consumption is a part of that.

The EPA should, by order from Congress, should increase the average fuel mileage requirement for new primarily passenger carrying vehicles by 1% per 5 years. The purchase of a pickup truck should require a permit to screen out those who buy pickups who have nothing to haul that a small trailer or a hatchback auto couldn’t do.


What Tom and Ray should do is let everyone know what kind of cars they drive, how many times a month they walk somewhere while running an errand, how large their homes are, how much energy is used to heat and cool them, etc. instead of asking a loaded “do you beat your wife on a regular basis” question.

I’ve shared my thoughts and don’t expect an answer this time either since it was never addressed twice previously when I brought it up.

#10 <-- Top Gear’s review on the Prius

And the deal with the gas prices, not everyone can afford to buy a new fuel efficient car that’s going to be mandated to the 35MPG+. So, should the person who can’t afford a new car be punished by spending MORE to keep their current car going? And besides, the Prius is a fugly car.


Yes, higher Federal standards push auto makers to do better. There is however, a point of diminishing ability to eek out extra mileage with an internal combustion engine, better aerodynamics and weight reductions. Remember, to get where we are today in fuel economy and low emmissions your new car costs have skyrocketed. We may now get 25 to 30 MPG but the vehicle also costs a LOT more, requires a rocket surgeon to work on it and has many more very specific maintenace requirements. Can there be a 40MPG car in two years that’s bigger than a lawn mower? Probably, but at what cost initially and then through the next five years of operation.
American car buyers are very fickle. We want or agree with much higher MPG for many reasons stated already. We also don’t or won’t pay the ever higher price tag for this accomplishment. We also want this vehicle to be 22 feet long and haul/handle/pull anything.
Having said all this, the free market will ALWAYS dictate. Hybrids and toy size cars are available today with the best mileage. They are a small percentage of the market and cost more or are diminished in size and capability. Most Americans don’t want them cause they do not fill the need they have. There is an entire world of discovery to be made in diesel technology and should be advanced much greater than currently available.
Bottom line is this. Mileage has absolutely nothing to do with the supply and demand for oil and gasoline. This especially applies to national security. If this were important, why is there still no national energy policy? It is easy and lazy to target the obvious. The heavy lifting has to be done in Washington on what direction the country will go in.
PS: A tax has never done anything but take money permanently out of the economy and put it into government coffers for follies that abound. Check out how much federal and state taxes you already pay on a gallon of fuel where you live. How have these existing taxes raised mileage, reduced consumption and cut pollution? Clue-they haven’t, at all, ever, but you don’t have that money. :-}


The marketplace is rigged! Our government gives us gasoline that is less expensive than bottled water. Why would we conserve it? If gasoline were priced, or taxed, at a realistic level, the public would DEMAND more fuel-efficient vehicles, and there would be no need for federally-mandated MPG standards. Who would buy a Hummer if gasoline cost $7 or $8 per gallon, even $5. And it will, sooner or later.

I’ve been a car guy all my life, and I enjoy a smoky burnout, a well-executed sideways drift, the WRC, and the sound of a Formula 1 car at “full chat” as much as anyone. I even enjoy watching old NASCAR videos (you know, when the race cars actually looked like cars) but I think it’s time to reconsider the whole thing. We can’t keep pretending this doesn’t matter.

We consume gasoline frivolously, at our peril, and one day, within the lifetime of some of us, we will regret it.


Go for the higher gas mileage. My 83 Corolla used to get 41 MPG on a tankful that included a 110 mile highway trip. 55 out and 55 back and the rest was driving locally. Get rid of airbags, stability control and antilock brakes. You can’t eliminate all the risks. When those things malfunction they’re dangerous.


While this is a really dumb idea (taking off saftey features), it does bring up a good point. Some people have eluded to the fact that the automakers sudenly made fuel efficant cars once the govt regulater fuel economy back in the 70’s. This is not totally true, while they did make small cars that were more fuel efficant then the cars they repalced, these cars were largly under powered tin cans. They had no saftey features, would not do well in a crash, and were basically rolling tin cans. You look at cars today with there standard dual air bags, and in some cases side impact air bags, Crush zones, side impact beams, etc. All in a car that is basically as efficant, but much safer and more liveable on a day to day basis. These changes really did not start untill the 90’s a full 20 years after the laws went into effect. I personally do not want to go back to the rolling tin cans of the 70’s and 80’s.

PS Many small cars are sold at a loss by the manufactures just to fill the need for these cars in there line up. For example the Ford Focus, and the Kia Rio. There manufactures loose money or at most brake even on each unit they sell. How long can that last??


Since when has the government done anything better than the market place? I am only 65 years old, so maybe it was before my time, but I doubt it. Tom and Ray have consistently pushed for more government interference. Tom and Ray, please stick to things you know about, mechanics


I am certain that the only real way out of the oil mess is to go nuclear with Plutonium reactors in our cars. They can be made safe but if its too scarry for people then plug into a power station at home to charge a electric car. Why did we ever give up on nuclear power plants anyway? It seems like the more business we do with a country, the more they don’t seem to appreciate us!


Three Mile Island pretty much scared the crap out of Americans in the late 70s and early 80s. We (Americans have short memories and most people wouldn’t care about the increase of building more nuke plants today, it’s just that pesky old NRC. Government, once enacted, mandated, or legislated . . is hard to get rid of, and a gov’t agency like the NRC will be around for a long time to come. I know you didn’t really mean that individual nuclear reactors in either our cars or homes would be a solution, but the increase in construction might be the answer to our energy needs . . JUST DON’T BUILD IT IN MY BACKYARD! :0) Rocketman


IMHO its not about cranking up fuel prices to ridicules high amounts, or driving little tin boxes. Its about alternative fuels that can make us energy independent!


The day they get something the size of a Town Car to get 50 MPG while towing a horse trailer, and have a 0-60 time of 5 seconds doing it, that’ll be the day Americans wake up and buy a fuel efficient vehicle.


I agree with you americar . . except when you think about the 400 million gallons of gasoline we Americans use EVERY DAY. I only wish that the first gas and energy crunch of the 1970s would’ve made more of an impact in our country. Remember what Brazil did?