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Old 12-18-2007, 11:31 AM   #41
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Of course not. By showing the average joe buying his wife a lexus for christmas, the guy making a little more money feels like a chump for not doing it. Lexus isnt interested in getting everyman to buy a car they cant afford, they're interested in getting that financial layer just below their current buyer.

But gosh, that low end and mid range lexus might be reachable via a special lease program for the average joe...
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:57 AM   #42
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Of course not. By showing the average joe buying his wife a lexus for christmas, the guy making a little more money feels like a chump for not doing it. Lexus isnt interested in getting everyman to buy a car they cant afford, they're interested in getting that financial layer just below their current buyer.

But gosh, that low end and mid range lexus might be reachable via a special lease program for the average joe...
I must be stupid, I can get a loaded Avalon for $6,000 less than an ES 330..........
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:47 PM   #43
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I must be stupid, I can get a loaded Avalon for $6,000 less than an ES 330..........
Not stupid. Practical. And in my mind practical equates to sensible. And I have heard many times the cries regarding the death of "common" sense.
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:51 PM   #44
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Not stupid. Practical. And in my mind practical equates to sensible. And I have heard many times the cries regarding the death of "common" sense.
Funny, I just got some grief by one of my acquaintances today about my personal car, a 2003 Honda Accord 4-cylinder.

When I told him a car was the LAST thing I was concerned about, he asked if it was hurting my business because I didn't drive a fancy car. My comment? "If my clients are basing the decision to hire me on the car I drive, I've got big problems".........
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:58 PM   #45
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One thing that many people miss is that even if a small percentage of people (lets say 5%) are interested in higher gas mileage over power and car size, that's still a substantial number of potential customers in a market as large as the US. So, the point I've been trying to make in some of my earlier posts is that for the most part car companies have been ignoring these customers by offering only expensive hybrid cars and not smaller-engined gasoline-engined cars that get similar mileage. It's starting to change a little though. I just ran across an article on the web about a new small car that Toyota may offer for sale in 2008 to US car buyers that will compete with the Smart Car and get over 50 mpg. It's called the Toyota Aygo. I've read threads in many car forums on the internet that people here in the US would love the same small cars that are offered in Europe and Asia but for some reason car companies haven't been offering them here in the US. Maybe it takes something like an increase in the CAFE standards to nudge car companies to even consider the possiblity that Americans would drive the smaller cars. I always hear the argument that car companies would have already offered them for sale here in the US if there was a market for them. The problem is, how do they know that there isn't a market here for them, when they've don't offer them here now. Anyway, here's a link to information about the Toyota Aygo:

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/GeneralFuture/articleId=116832

I know there will be someone in this forum that says...I wouldn't be caught dead in a vehicle like that since it's so small and would be a death trap in a car accident. Some people are willing to take that risk. So don't buy it if you're more safety conscious, but don't knock those who might want to make that choice. Just because you don't want it doesn't mean that there aren't others that would eagerly buy it. If a car like the Toyota Aygo came out in the $12,000-$14,000 range, I'd consider buying one just as a city commuter. It would make a great 2nd car for many people.
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Old 12-18-2007, 02:46 PM   #46
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I must be stupid, I can get a loaded Avalon for $6,000 less than an ES 330..........
Yep, you're sensible. I bought a completely stripped honda pilot for $22k instead of a $45k acura mdx.

I suggested to my wife that she look at a loaded avalon for half the price.

That wasnt what she wanted. Since most of the rest of the stuff she buys comes from walmart and target, and she isnt much of a spender, its pretty tough to say 'no' on the occasions when she wants something.

By the way, she said she'd settle for the ES3xx and I was the one who said we'd buy the big one, because it carried more value and had a better depreciation curve.

So far its 2 years old, has 5000 miles on it, and in 14 years my son is going to learn how to drive in it and it'll be his first car. With a projected 50,000 miles on it...

Now, back to the matter of the actual topic of conversation here, the simple matter is that people dont want econoboxes, they'll pay for the gas, the manufacturers want to make a profit and they do that best by selling big loaded vehicles...hmmm...who gets left holding the bag? Oh yeah, the federal government, who has to manage monetary policy, the economy, and the politics associated with oil importation and consumption.

So given that they're standing there waiting for everyone to quit supersizing everything (which aint gonna happen), they force the manufacturers to make more economical vehicles and present those choices to the buying cattle masses.

You arent really expecting that the people who floor it through a stop sign to get to the next red light .2 seconds faster and who pass you on the right in the breakdown lane on an entrance ramp to get into heavy traffic one car further up are going to make good long term rational decisions about this matter, are you?
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Old 12-18-2007, 03:01 PM   #47
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DallasGuy - sure, some people will buy the super-small cars. But for the most part, those people already drive reasonably efficient cars, so the savings (in gallons) is also quite small. Remember that for 10,000 miles driven, going from a 15mpg vehicle to a 20 mpg vehicle (only 5mpg, 33%) saves 167 gallons. But going from a 30 mpg to a 50 mpg vehicle ( 20 mpg and 67%) saves only 133 gallons.

CAFE takes this into account, they use a harmonic mean. But people don't.

The trouble is, the high mpg cars are generally smaller, lighter, low power - and to some extent, people reject those. The alternative is to boost mpg with the hybrid system - but that costs money.

I still say mpg is too narrow a focus. Public trans car pooling, telecommuting, jobs closer to work, etc, should get more attention.

What easier way to double the mpg of any vehicle, at no cost and with available technology, than to car-pool? CAFE ignores this (and so many other things).

And those small inexpensive cars may not qualify for 'hybrid' benefits - even though their mpg may be as good or better.

-ERD50
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Old 12-18-2007, 03:48 PM   #48
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DallasGuy - sure, some people will buy the super-small cars. But for the most part, those people already drive reasonably efficient cars, so the savings (in gallons) is also quite small. Remember that for 10,000 miles driven, going from a 15mpg vehicle to a 20 mpg vehicle (only 5mpg, 33%) saves 167 gallons. But going from a 30 mpg to a 50 mpg vehicle ( 20 mpg and 67%) saves only 133 gallons.

CAFE takes this into account, they use a harmonic mean. But people don't.

The trouble is, the high mpg cars are generally smaller, lighter, low power - and to some extent, people reject those. The alternative is to boost mpg with the hybrid system - but that costs money.

I still say mpg is too narrow a focus. Public trans car pooling, telecommuting, jobs closer to work, etc, should get more attention.

What easier way to double the mpg of any vehicle, at no cost and with available technology, than to car-pool? CAFE ignores this (and so many other things).

And those small inexpensive cars may not qualify for 'hybrid' benefits - even though their mpg may be as good or better.

-ERD50
I agree with you on attacking the problem on several fronts. I started telecommuting about 6 months ago and now instead of filling up every week I fill up every 2-3 weeks. The company I work at is encouraging people to work from home so things like that are starting to work a little on that front. Also car pooling and mass transit is good, although easier in some cities than others.

This is not a problem that will be solved overnight. It takes many years for people to change their views on transportation and it will take a long time for people to drop the idea that a car is a status symbol and not just a way to get from point A to point B. I don't disagree that raising gas taxes would help encourage people to conserve but I also believe that by raising the CAFE numbers, the car companies are being nudged in the direction of offering more economical choices....whether it be a truck that goes from 10 mpg to 13 mpg OR a compact car that goes from 35 mpg to 40 mpg...it all helps. If all of sudden the price of gas dropped to 99 cents a gallon, I'd probably say the higher CAFE numbers aren't necessary, but with the prospect of ever higher gas prices, it's just a matter of time before the public SLOWLY edges towards higher mileage vehicles. If someone just bought a gigantic SUV this year, they're probably not going to rush out and sell it and replace it with a 40 mpg econobox tomorrow just because the price of gas went up. BUT if gas keeps rising in price, the next time they buy they may be just a little more conscious of what kind of gas mileage their next vehicle is getting. But at least by the time a person is ready to buy their next vehicle perhaps the higher CAFE standards might allow them to purchase a vehicle with higher gas mileage than it otherwise would be without the higher standards.

Whether you raise the taxes on gasoline or whether you raise the CAFE standards, you're still manipulating the market, just in different ways. The end goal is the same...to conserve and to make the US less dependent on oil imports. You can argue which one is better. I actually wouldn't be against raising the gas taxes...however it's one of the more regressive taxes hitting the poor the hardest and the transportation industry would fight it pretty hard. Also, it would be very unpopular with most Americans so I don't think it would ever pass.
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:32 PM   #49
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I'll be the first to type it, there is no way I will buy the Aygo. With my size it just won't happen. Granted I lost a lot of size when I stopped working out so much, but I'm still a large person and squeezing into that most likely won't happen with any type of comfort.

I do agree many jobs could be tele-commute, but managers do not want to give up that much control.
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:40 PM   #50
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One big difference in the US Market is the demand for creature comforts that consume energy and require more horsepower such as AC and automatic transmissions. The one idea I like about higher gas taxes would be to use the proceeds to fund alternative energy development. Not sure what level of tax would generate a meaningful amount of money, but Im thinking a nickel or dime a gallon to start.

The CAFE is such a ruse because it does not compute passenger miles per gallon. Full line manufacturers are penalized vs companies that only produce economy cars. CAFE I drove the whole industry out of body on frame construction and rear wheel drive into uni-body and front wheel drive. So what did people do? They bought SUVs which had a less restrictive CAFE formula but still run body on frame and rear wheel drive. You could make an argument that CAFE hurt the fleet average...law of unintended consequences.
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:55 PM   #51
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Okay then, let me give a refresher course in "How to screw up a major branded product 101", since it seems that the new coke debacle isnt well remembered.

Coke was a flagship worldwide branded product with a rapidly growing competitor that had a sweeter, somewhat different tasting product, Pepsi. Seeing that Pepsi was quickly catching up to them in product sales, Coke elected to change their product recipe to simulate Pepsi, drop their regular product, and "join them if you cant beat them". Clearly this was a fundamental error in judgment on behalf of company management.

People bought Coke because they liked Coke, it was what they wanted to drink, and because it was probably what they'd been drinking for years. Changing the formula meant that most of your existing customers would stop buying it because it was no longer the same. In parallel, there was no reason for existing Pepsi drinkers to say "well hey, this new coke tastes almost the same, lets abandon what we know and like for this other thing!". All the advertising in the world wouldnt change that, because there was no impetus for existing customers to stay and no reason for prospective customers to switch.

The approximate equivalent would have been Chevy saying "well, those Ford truck guys were right and they make better trucks, so we're going to make a near duplicate of the Ford pickup, except we're going to put a Chevy badge on it.". Ford buyers arent likely to stop buying Fords and start buying Chevy's that are just about the same as Fords. And your long time Chevy buyers arent going to be thrilled with it either.

This isnt a case of "lets make something people dont want and then shove it down their throat with advertising that makes them do things they otherwise wouldnt", its "Lets excite people about buying what they want anyway - a big powerful heavy safe vehicle that makes them feel big and powerful, then build lots of what they really want."

The advertising isnt creating the demand, its simply helping elevate the original desire in the customer.

Creating an advertising and product strategy around small fuel efficient cars would be like the Beef industry putting up ads telling you that tofu and broccoli are better for you, so eat that instead. Its not what you want. On the other hand, putting on a "BEEF! Its whats for dinner!!!" while showing large sizzling slabs of meat on a grill? That'll work.

Perhaps theres a fundamental disconnect in that people here think that the average american consumer cares about oil economics and politics and wants to do the right thing for the country and the earth.

People are largely interested in being comfortable, serving their own base needs, covering up their inadequacies and avoiding things they fear (or conquering them).

Marketing and advertising simply plays on those instincts.

Except for a small percentage of intelligent, earth-crunchy people, gas mileage isnt of interest for most people. In a recent survey I saw of car buying criteria, gas mileage hovered in the #4/#5. With $3.25 gas in evidence.

The car buying public is more interested in speed, safety, power, comfort and reliability, not mileage or emissions. The car companies make more money selling big, feature rich vehicles with big motors and aggressive looks.

Its a win/win for the car makers and the buying public...all the latter needs is just a little push.

By the way, I'm not getting the Lexus stuff. Its just proving my point. My wife was advertised into believing that a Toyota with a different name on it would tell everyone that she's wealthy and powerful and has "arrived", and she never had a nice new expensive car before. I had no need to deny her something that she wanted.

/Well said!
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:49 PM   #52
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[/i]

Whether gas is $2,$3, $4, or more is immaterial to some extent. UPS, FedEx, and all the trucking companies aren't going to reduce their consumption of gas, they can't. The consumer can lower overall demand but not make a HUGE difference, IMHO.......
....
Not necessarily true. Delivery applications such as those that you site are among the very best applications for hybrids because of all of the stops and starts.

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Old 12-18-2007, 07:59 PM   #53
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Its a short matter of time before package delivery involves rail freight to a number of distributed central stations and you go get your own when it comes in.

To-the-door delivery is simply not going to be financially feasible.

I think centralization in a lot of products will go the same route. Neighborhood grocery stores will fall to cheaper more centralized warehouse style grocery sales.
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:12 PM   #54
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To-the-door delivery is simply not going to be financially feasible.
Not when the courier s running up the driveway with a singe Matchbox car one day and a potholder the next! (see Recomend Crock Pot (slow cooker) for more on CFB's feud with his USPS carrier)

On a serious note, I don't know if centralized pickup of consumer goods will be the model (rather than having them delivered to homes, as they are now). It's certainly less efficient (fuel and manhour wise) for 40 people tp make a trip to/from a centralized pickup spot than to have the items delivered on a well designed route. Add in the inconvenience of waiting in line and muscling heavy items out to the car, and I think people would choose to pay more to have the item delivered to their home. Which, I think, is exactly what is happening now (with the delivery price incorporated into the price of the item).
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:21 PM   #55
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Actually they can reduce their fuel consumption.
UPS instructed its drivers to plan their routes to take as few left turns as possible. In NYC alone UPS has saved millions of gallons of gas.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/ma...-handturn.html
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:46 PM   #56
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I dont think UPS is very interested in customer delivery related costs or nationwide system efficiency that includes a customer picking up their packages.

Hell, the USPS already did a "come get it" to me once, as described in the referenced thread.

Which has worked out great for that guy. He avoided one trip up the driveway with a heavy package and has made about 30 largely unnecessary trips as a result. Today it was pouring rain. I mean, coming down in absolute gigantic buckets.

I saw his truck pull up out front and alerted Ted to be at the ready...
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Old 12-18-2007, 09:01 PM   #57
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You arent really expecting that the people who floor it through a stop sign to get to the next red light .2 seconds faster and who pass you on the right in the breakdown lane on an entrance ramp to get into heavy traffic one car further up are going to make good long term rational decisions about this matter, are you?
Absolutely, I always expect people to make rational decisions about everything using a 10+ year planning horizon, while also carefully balancing the welfare of society at large vs their personal desire.

Of course, I also root for the Cylons to wipe out the hUmans in Battlestar so I guess I'm not typical.
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Old 12-18-2007, 09:43 PM   #58
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The "new" cylons certainly are a bit better looking than the old ones, arent they?

At least the female ones.
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Old 12-18-2007, 10:33 PM   #59
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I work with trucking companies. Some would be surprised how efficient and technically capable UPS is. Also very practical as they never let thier highway drivers run over 55mph...ok maybe 59. Never compare them to USPS (though they also do a fine job managing thier trucks). The point-to-point logistics are great, but the home delivery part is not efficient at all. I am surprised they have not implemented a regional delivery at a very reduced cost program (like the big box stores have) I am currently trying to buy an item that Wal-Mart no longer carries in thier stores. Its a 30-40 dollar item, but the delivery charge for online order is 25 dollars.
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