February 07, 2006

Horse 490 - Addicted to Oil

In George W Bush's State of the Union address he said the following: "Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world,"

I thought about this a bit and realised that the cause of this might be inherent in the way that the USA does buisiness. A lot of the north-eastern states of the USA use heating oil in the winter, and industry has to account for a fair amount considering that the USA has the world's biggest GDP. One thing my sister mentioned when she went over there was that the cars were huge; this doesn't include SUV's which in the cities are a bind more than an advantage. So then, what's to be done about it?

I've been doing a spot of research at cars currently for sale in the USA. The smallest cars that I find at 1.6L. 97 Cubes! That's the smallest? What's going on here?

It would appear that there's a slew of cars hovering at around the 2.2L mark. The Ford Focus is on sale at Ford and it appears that the 1.8 variant isn't on sale and as for the Fiesta, that car doesn't even make the line up.
Over at GM the Aveo (read Daewoo Kalos, Holden Barina, and Chevrolet Kalos in Europe) they sell the 1.6L but not the 1.3, 1.1 or 899cc variants that are elsewhere in the world.
Toyota sell a 1.8L Corolla and the 1.5L Yaris will be added in 2007. Honda sell the Civic but not the Jazz and Hyundai have the Accent at 1.6L but the Getz is absent. Renault, Citroen and Peugeot also appear to be non-existant.

The "addiction to oil" as George W puts it is actually caused in part by the fact that Americans
a) don't buy smaller cars
b) can't buy smaller cars
c) have cheap gas prices, so the need simply isn't there

In crowded Europe a small cars are popular and plentiful. The price of petrol in California is on average $2.42/US gal.

The following is in US cents per litre:
USA - 63.929c
Aus - 86.065c
Can - 92.583c
UK - 155.241c
Ger - 158.020c
Fra - 140.076c
Spa - 118.501c

It would appear that cheap gas prices actually contribute to the fact that people will drive a bigger car. Australia has slightly more expensive prices than the USA and so there are a lot more smaller cars here.

The solution would probably shock most people, simply impose higher taxes. If people are taxed more for their petrol, then they'll more than likely demand smaller cars and use less of the stuff.
Another solution which I have come up with is fun - buy your cars in Mexico. Because people are on average poorer, the cars tend to be cheaper and more fuel efficient. If I ever live in the USA then for sure I'll be going to a Ford dealer in Tijuana and buying...

Well, it's the natural solution isn't it; it's so cuuuuute ^_^


JFP said...

you are right on, people need to start getting real and realize that driving a hybrid not having a little yellow magnet on your car is how you support the troops

Katja said...

Americans are just big hogs. We've got massive drink sizes, massive serving sizes at restaurants, massive economy packages and this and that. Bigger doesn't mean better in my opinion. I've peered inside those big trucks and SUVs and "mini-vans" and time and time again the owners aren't hauling anything in all that space. It's just about image and greediness.