Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Changing Car Production

On Monday, I said we would begin to tackle the serious issues we are facing. I’m not going to write here about the benefits of hybrid cars. I’m going to take it as given that most of the Left Coast Voices readership believe in the threat of global warming and understand the environmental benefits of hybrid cars. If you disagree with me, feel free to state your case in the comments section. I plan to write about alternative energy at a later date.

What I want to ask is: if we already have the technology to create the hybrid car, then why are we still producing non-hybrid cars? While every other car in the Bay Area is a Prius, did you know that Porsche are producing a hybrid sports car? Also Jaguar are busy producing their own hybrid line, and both cars should be ready to coincide with my fiftieth birthday (to help this come true, please contact your local top fiction publisher or blockbuster movie company!).

I only want one so that I can commute to work in the car pool lane!

The Chinese, I believe, use the same word to mean disaster and opportunity. With the collapse of the American car industry, there was an opportunity that was only partially grasped. The American public seemed willing to bail out the US car industry but insisted that it become relevant in today’s economy. I had the opportunity to hold this discussion with about a dozen patriotic, forward-thinking Americans, almost all of whom are loyal Toyota, Honda and Lexus drivers.

Ford Escape Hybrid - the top choice for my next family car.

In restructuring the American car industry, why didn’t we insist that only cars with a minimum mpg be produced? Why not decide now that no car with a fuel consumption of less than 35 mpg will be made on American soil by 2013 – the technology is there, so why wait for a few more icebergs to melt?

Can we go further and not import cars that fail to adhere to such standards? Instead of fearing repercussions from our fellow business partners abroad, why not build consensus by bringing them on board to adopt the same standards? The country that manufactures Toyota, Honda and Lexus, fully understands what happens when the natural world goes out of sync.

What’s holding us back from taking this simple, but bold step? We’ll discuss that on Friday.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

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3 thoughts on “Changing Car Production

  1. Alon, you’re basically talking about CAFE standards – corporate average fuel economy. These mandate that a companies average is a certain MPG – I think it went up to 30 this year. CAFE doesn’t say anything about using a certain technology, just MPG.

    Of course, trucks are different and just plain old exceptions are granted sometimes. And the gains in CAFE have come like ground in a war – through huge opposition from corporations (car AND oil) and their money. And it does matter who is in the white house and congress as well.

    What you’re talking about here is common sense. That’s not allowed except in smaaaaall doses in our government.

    One of these days I’ll do a post on why oil companies WANT to hurry up and get to an oil shortage.

  2. I’m looking forward to seeing that post. I would hazard a guess as to why the oil companies would want that, but I don’t want to spoil your post!

    How about a Presidential candidate running a campaign: Common Sense, Yes We Can!?

    Best,
    Alon
    http://www.alonshalev.com/

  3. Pingback: Why Can’t We Get Off Oil? « Left Coast Voices

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