INTAKE

Full-Contact Driving WE ALL WANT TO BE SAFE IN OUR CARS, but where does it end? How many more airbags, heavier roofs and electronic stability control systems do we need before the Soccer Mom deems it a safe car for kids? Why don't we all wear football gear and helmets when we drive to work? All these safety systems just add more weight and complexity to cars. How are OEMs supposed to get 35 mpg (6.7

Full-Contact Driving

WE ALL WANT TO BE SAFE IN OUR CARS, but where does it end? How many more airbags, heavier roofs and electronic stability control systems do we need before the Soccer Mom deems it a safe car for kids?

Why don't we all wear football gear and helmets when we drive to work? All these safety systems just add more weight and complexity to cars.

How are OEMs supposed to get 35 mpg (6.7 L/100 km) from a 3,800-lb. (1,723 kg) tank? If the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety wants to save more lives, support and promote real drivers' training programs like they do in Europe.
Art Lee
Woodland Hills, CA

Gas Tax Hike Bad Idea

I DON'T LIKE THE IDEA OF FOLLOWING Europe's use of high gas taxes to discourage gas use (see WAW — Aug. '08, p.11). That is, unless the government is going to buy my boat and millions of others. At $6 a gallon, a boat is useless. Same with RVs.

An increase in the gas tax would pretty much decimate the economies of tourist states such as Michigan. Many countries in Europe have very poor economies. With gas at $8 a gallon, I wonder why. I don't want to live like them!
Greg Brigman
Harrison Township, MI

Energy Policy Debacle

THE CONSEQUENCES OF HIGH FUEL prices and pro-ethanol energy policies are clear. The U.S. is remarkably dependent on foreign oil, and the government has demonstrated little capacity for change. Food prices are skyrocketing, forcing many potential buyers in some parts of the world right out of the market for new vehicles, lest they starve. Then we have trucks and SUVs piling up on dealers' lots and plants shutting down.

Your publication said what Detroit wants to hear, not that we should embrace a more efficient energy policy. Most of the world's vehicles are vastly more efficient than ours. Europe has been coping for a long time with gas far more expensive than anything the U.S. is facing today. As a result, Europe has products that are more readily exported to international markets, unlike Detroit's lineup. So the U.S. government has been encouraging — rather than discouraging — gas consumption and planning poorly for a precarious supply-and-demand position.

The Detroit Three, Big Oil, the auto media and ethanol backers all sought their individual interests over the common good. The economies of China and India moving into high gear should have been a wakeup call for change. It has led to a historic shift in global wealth and will have appalling consequences for the U.S. over the next few years. This is a policy debacle, the result of a stew of special interests and a stunted presidency.
Fritz Maffry
Kansas City

‘Head Screwed on Right’

JERRY FLINT SEEMS TO “HAVE HIS HEAD screwed on right” as they say about people who have a far above average understanding of what's really going on (see WAW — Sept. '08, p.48). In viewing bad choices of the past, we still must look at where we are and the best course of action for the good of the country.

I've appreciated your comments over the years and thought you should know you have supporters who appreciate your comments. Thanks for the great commentary.
Wayne Brillhart
Hartland, MI

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