I think new cars are a lot better than the cars of old. While I really love my 69 Mach 1, I can't deny the fact that the latest Mustangs get more powerful engines that pollute less and get better gas mileage in a heavier car. There isn't one day that goes by without me wondering what it would take for me to install an engine of one of the recent Mustangs into the old 69. In addition to the other benefits I mentioned, I would get much better drivability; I have to really baby the engine from the time it starts up to when it finally warms up enough so I can drive it normally. That's not an issue with my 87 Mustang.
And there is no question that leaded gasoline was bad for everyone's health; imagine all those cars back then spewing lead-laced exhaust fumes for everyone to breathe. I would not want to return to those days.
yes I believe politics are prohibited here, so to put an end to the political comments on my end, I want to say that the previous administration was not exempt from the "Green" Movement, if you know what I mean. Take Chenney's Halliburton for example...
ok, so the issue is the ethanol in the fuel, now I get it. But it wasn't the present administration who came up with that idea, right? No one is innocent here except the public who has to swallow these gasoline prices while our wages have remained the same for the last 20 years, and domestic car mileage has not improved either.
Otherwise I promise I will not make any more political comments. I'll just dream about those days when I got my first car in 1969, Premium gasoline was $ .69 a gallon and everybody was complaining about the price of fuel.
You have to remember how inflation works. In 1969 Gasoline cost $4.39 per gallon in today's dollars. So gasoline was really expensive back then.
You are right, it was not the present administration that came up with the idea. It wasn't the previous administration that came up with the idea either. The idea had been floating around since the mid nineties, it just wasn't until the Bush administration that the people pushing this idea finally got enough power and leverage to push it through. Both major political parties were part of the problem with supporting this idea, which was largely funded by people who knew that by getting a national 10% ethanol gasoline, that peoples economy would be reduced, and in turn you could sell less gasoline for the same price and hope the public wouldn't notice, and even if they did notice, hopefully they wouldn't be able to do anything about it.
If you think the public is innocent, sorry, they bought into the idea to at least some extent, there were those who could grow the corn feed stock to make the stuff who were all for the idea, there were people who got duped into thinking it could help reduce dependence on foreign oil, and there were those who elected the people who passed such laws. So the public is at least partly to blame too.
So please don't dream about the days when gasoline cost $4.39 per gallon, because in 1969 thats exactly what you were spending.
There are lots of domestic cars that have improved economy, especially when you factor in that many newer cars have a lot of baggage. Today's cars have ABS, traction control, produce more power, they carry airbags, they have crumple zones, etc. Despite their added weight from complexity, you can get cars like my '00 Focus that is capable of getting over 40 mpg, and the new ones can get even better. My 2000 Focus has a DOHC engine that produces 130 hp and still gets the same overall fuel economy that its predecessor got. The ones a few years later have a larger 2.0L Duratec that produces 148 hp and still gets the same economy that mine does. Or the even larger and more powerful 2.3L Duratec does not take much of an economy hit but produces even more power.
When you look at them from a power/economy standpoint, the fuel economy of today's cars has improved. Ford has done more to produce and sell a smaller fuel efficient car than any other domestic automaker. The Focus has been in the US since 2000, what did either Chevy or Dodge have to offer in that time. Dodge had the Neon, which wasn't selling well and wasn't well made, and was not as fuel efficient, and only had one body style, and Chevy had.... Saturn, which wasn't well made, wasn't as fuel efficient, and they sold ok, but they had no future. Many of the Saturns used engines and components from Daewoo, a Korean company, largely because GM lacked many good fuel efficient engine designs for smaller cars, so they had to import them instead. GM was too busy investing millions into building Hummers, Escalades, etc. Dodge was investing millions into their next generation of mean aggressive take life by the horns cars, but was not going much of anywhere in an economy sense. Dodge was capably of delivering more efficient cars, but their image did not fit well with economy, most Dodge buyers are after mean aggressive powerful vehicles, things like Chargers, Challengers, Durangos, Dakotas, Ram, etc. The Caliber, which was an attempt to replace the aging Neon, was supposed to be the fuel efficient yet mean looking car, it wasn't that efficient, and it looked kinda goofy. I think Ford has mad noteworthy efforts and had noteworthy success with building and selling economical cars, and with making them more economical in spite of the increasing emission and safety standards that they had to keep meeting. Then they took it a step further by bringing the Fiesta back to the states, it was a popular car in Europe. It has some fuel efficient offerings.
So I don't feel the statement that domestics haven't improved the economy in the last 20 years is true, I think they have made efforts, and the American public to a large extent ignored it. They viewed the Focus as a cute little car that young adults bought because they couldn't afford a real car, not as the car the more mature adults could have bought to conserve fuel.
I own my Focus and Aerostar. The Aerostar is what I drive if I need to haul, the Focus is what I drive the rest of the time, it gets more than double the economy. Its also cheaper to maintain and repair. I got the ZX3 hatchback for added utility. And man, despite its fuel efficiency, it sure is a fun car to drive.
it will be best if I don't talk much about the Focus, my girlfriend almost got killed in a 2001 Focus when the throttle got stuck (the infamous throttle butterfly problem with the Focus). and she did not know to turn the ignition off because the brakes would not stop the car with the throttle stuck in full, she lost control trying to avoid hitting another car and crashed into a barrier, worse, the airbag did not go off. (a blessing or a curse?)
It was a Brand New Car. Never again Focus, thank you but no thank you. I bought her a 2007 Malibu Maxx in mint condition from Carmax, I found the Maxx in another state and Carmax trucked it overnight without obligation. (talk about power, that Maxx will out-accelerate any Porsche, Jaguar, or BMW, (you name it although there are no Ferrari or Maserati that we've encountered), although in fuel consumption it's not exactly a Toyota but it is a bigger wider car and she wanted something she could convert to station wagon mode to haul her crafts).
the Good News: I found a nice '95 Aerostar (I'm looking for an extended this time, no more shorties). the van is excellent condition overall BUT it has a transmission problema in which it takes a while to shift from 1st to 2nd when cold after sitting overnight. What could it be? I'm not familiar with this tranny and my '92 never had any tranny problem like that, although it was a bit jerky when cold, otherwise shifted smoothly as it warmed up. I like this XLT Extended van but I'm not buying it until I find out what this is. You know what they say: "you're buying someone else's problem"....
1997 Ford Aerostar 4.0L RWD (purchased May 2012)
1992 Ford Aerostar 3.0L RWD (sold March 2012)
1986 Ford Aerostar 3.0L RWD (traded in '99 for the '92)
1984 Jaguar XJ-6 4.2L RWD (owned since 1990)
1965 Jaguar S type 3.8L RWD (owned since 2004)
Delayed engagement is sometimes low fluid, but old burnt fluid can cause it too. Beyond that, its wear and tear, if thats the case you will need at the very least a valve body rebuild. Worn bands and clutches can also cause delayed engagement.
Sorry to hear about the throttle body issue on that Focus, sounds to me like another failure of the drivers education program, you shouldn't have to learn how to handle and emergency after you've had a problem. Ford had an updated throttle body, the originals were made in Mexico, the revised design is made in England. Not sure how common of a problem that was, but Ford did address the problem.
A Maxx will not out accelerate a Porsche, especially not when you say "any" Porsche, trust me, a Malibu MAXX has got nothing on a Carrera GT. But a Maxx does have good power. Overall my Focus has been an excellent car, just like most the other Ford's I've owned. Crashing into a barrier will only set of the airbag is the radiator support gets bent enough to activate the sensor, if the car hit the barrier sideways, or on the back, the airbag won't deploy.
Heres a buying guide on an Aerostar. It is very unlikely you are gonna get a good trans no matter what you pay for it. Any Aerostar trans beyond 120,000 original miles is on borrowed time. Sure some go far longer than that, my Mom's '95 has over 200,000 on the original trans, al lot depends on how well it was maintained, but regardless, if you can budget in the minor upgrades to prevent a failure up front, you are going to have to rebuild or replace a trans in one sooner or later. So if the van is mechanically sound and well maintained, and the interior and exterior are in great shape, its probably worth it. Replace the fluid with new, the trans fluid is one of the most commonly neglected things. Sometimes that all it takes to make it behave. 1995 is a good year, thats the first year of the all electronic trans, which improved the reliability over the A4LD in the previous years by 50,000 miles or more. If the van still drives and engages, a valve body rebuild and a few minor tweaks can still make the trans last a long time for minimal investment.
Another note though, on this economy thread, I did not mention that I am not a light footed driver, and I am getting much better economy, so 11 mpg is just plain not a normal thing. Something is most definitely wrong.
Ford has made some mis-steps in the types of cars they sold. About 10 years ago, Toyota was introducing their first Prius to Americans. I won't comment on whether that's a good or bad car, but they were trying to introduce a new concept in a car that gets better gas mileage. At about the same time, Ford introduced the Excursion, proudly claimed to be the biggest SUV in America. I think they were definitely pandering to the "bigger is better" mentality, and hoping that buyers won't realize or care that fuel prices WILL go up. This was, in my opinion, an example of "just because you can, doesn't mean that you should". Ford must have already known that over 90% of SUVs sold are used as daily drivers that never see any real hauling or off-road duties. I don't know how profitable that was, as I don't know how many were sold and at what profit margin, but I hope they at least got something out of it.
Yeah they did do that. It was short lived, which tells me it was not popular. I know a guy who has a diesel Excursion. I'm sure they did know that, but the guy who came up with that idea no longer works for Ford. It was an ill fated attempt to rival the Suburban. They are nice with the diesel engine, but very few people need an SUV anywhere near that size.
Gas was not $0.69/gallon in 1969 - it was nearly half that much. The main reason gasoline prices are going up is because inflation is setting in. The Fed has printed trillions of dollars and released it into the global economy through stimulus, bailouts and endless zero percent interest rates. Oil is sold in US dollars, so we see inflation directly through its sale on the global market. Bush got the ball rolling and Obama has accelerated the pace through his 4 year spending spree. Whether or not he'll get another 4 years to dig the hole deeper is anyone's guess. Either way, get used to high gas prices. In all likelihood, there will come a time soon where $4/gallon gas will be nostalgically remembered as a screaming bargain, available only in "the good old days."
1997 Aerostar Extended 3.0 2WD, 38K miles
I remember gas being about $0.30/gallon in the late 60's, and still around $1/gallon about 20 years ago. The price increase has definitely accelerated in the last 20 years.
In the last decade, several surveys were taken by various research firms to find out what it would take for owners of SUVs who don't need them to move into smaller cars. An overwhelming response was $4/gallon gas.
If I were a greedy oil speculator looking to maximize my profits (and commission), I would carefully fix the oil and fuel prices such that they were high enough to make me huge profits, but not so high as to push too many SUV drivers into smaller, more efficient cars (or god forbid, force them into other modes of transportation that don't use gas at all). So I would try to edge up the cost of gas to dance around that magic number, keep it there long enough to get drivers used to it, then push it up again. Life is good when you have a captive customer base.
This is my way of escaping the grip: I've been commuting by bike for the last 12 or so years, and about 10 years ago, I found the perfect parking spot for my bike near where I work. Mine was the only bike there until the spike in gas prices in 2008, when more bikes showed up there, sometimes crowding me out. That was a good sign, as more commuters chose greener modes of transportation, though it was motivated by high gas prices. Then when gas prices dropped, so did the number of bikes parked there, but there are definitely more than just me there now, indicating permanent converts. If more people found ways to get free of the pump, those who control gas prices can't have as strong a control on us.
Yeah, inflation is a silent tax, and few people really know how much it affects them or how the government profits by it. To most people it just appears that prices are rising, and that it must be due to someone just jacking up their profits, in reality, because the government is pumping dollars into our economy, it makes the money less valuable, especially for imported goods (unless you are importing from a country that has a worse rate of inflation of their own currency).
Not to get back on politics, just a pointer, you might want to check the actual history of the national debt (AKA inflation) during our previous President's terms. It was only in the last portion of it that spending went through the roof, and that more correlated to a change in the congress, the President was the same. Funny how the media can paint a picture that is misleading by simply omitting certain truths. We the public have access to the spending records of our government, and according to that spending record, the first 6 years of our former President, the nation debt was decreasing, despite the war. It was only during the last two years that a duped public mislead by a media with an agenda got frustrated with our war (I didn't care for the war either), and elected a bunch of people from a different party who claimed to be against the war and that they would try to get our troops back, and then once they got elected, went on a huge bailout and spending spree. They then claimed it was because of their president and that if we elected a president of their party too, that we could end the war and the money situation would improve. We do that and sure enough the war does end, but along the war the spending gets even more out of control. Both parties are to blame, not trying to play politics here, just trying to illustrate that the media often paints a picture to manipulate political events and pressure the public into doing things and electing officials that we the people don't necessarily want and is not in our best interest. We have traded one evil for another evil and we are reaping the results, largely in the form of rising prices on everything.
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