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AP: $4 Gas Is Nearly Here

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The Associated Press’ report last week that $4 a gallon gas was on its way should send a shudder through every reader of TheCarConnection.com.

While we’re not global-warming enthusiasts like some of our readers and colleagues, we do believe that using less gasoline helps lower prices and will one day disentangle us from dealings with medieval dictatorships in the Middle East, South America and western Africa. And frankly, the specter of $4 gas makes a $50 fill-up for our Prius a little frightening.

Last winter, we saw gas in the Atlanta and Detroit areas drop to around $2.50. Now, a month away from Memorial Day, we’re already seeing prices at $3.50 a gallon—and last weeked in San Francisco, a sign with $3.97 premium caught our eye.

The problem is, once again, demand. All the world’s major economies are ticking along nicely. In the U.S. and China, demand has never been stronger for refined oil. And that’s why the situation is so precarious, if you care a lot of about paying a little more for gas.

Analysts said earlier this year that average prices were going to remain stable for the foreseeable future. Now, as the AP reports, prices are moving faster than any time since the twin hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, took out a third of Gulf refining capacity. While average prices nationwide are still less than $2.90, we can easily see an average breaking the all-time, inflation adjusted price of $3.11 a gallon by the time July comes around. And they could hit $4 a gallon if any of the “big three” hits: cataclysm in the Middle East, refinery outages across the United States, or another big Gulf States hurricane that undoes repairs in the wake of Ivan, Dennis, Katrina and Rita.

Where do you think gas prices are headed? What do you plan on doing to save gas and save money? Tell us here, and stay tuned for more on gas prices over at the main site.
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Comments (32)
  1. We are scrwd.
     
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  2. I not buying into the "Man-Made" Global Warming hysteria, and I am definitely not buying into demand for oil being the primary reason for prices going up across the country. Every year, the oil companies post record profits. Why? Read between the lines, people.
     
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  3. This is a wake up call for America: gas is already in the 4$ a gallon range north of the border...
     
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  4. if you dont like the price buy a bike and of course the oil companys are charging more than nesicery any thing to get more money away from americans
     
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  5. People need to wise up and stop waiting for the old 200mpg carburetor, or its current equivalent. There's no magic technology that will dramatically improve fuel economy while boosting power, waiting just off the horizon. The realistic way to live with higher fuel prices, at least until larger, more gradual reorganization can be completed, is simply to buy a more fuel efficient car. If it's at the expense of grossly indulgent horsepower, so be it. My 103hp Scion xB gets me and 4 of my best friends along the highway or around town just fine, returning 30-35 mpg. I'll gladly pay higher fuel prices if it helps to convince people that it doesn't take 240hp to get anywhere. Carbon dioxide does in fact contribute to the greenhouse effect, just look at the planet Venus. How much car-sourced CO2 contributes to the current observed increased is what is up for debate, but in absolute terms, higher fuel economy is unquestionably better than lower fuel economy. It's not that complicated. It's up to the consumers to change their own behavior, and as long as they're told to expect more power, they're going to demand it. Horsepower is a luxury, and decadence is a dangerous state to live in.
     
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  6. I'm waiting for Witz or any of the other people spouting against global warming to address the correlation between carbon dioxide concentrations and temperatures in ice cores. Why have the two variables been very tightly correlated as far back as we can see?

    What is the basis for you to say CO2 is not a greenhouse gas? If it absorbs heat and prevents it from radiating to space, that is a physical property - a fact - not some liberal bias.

    Do you know what the "carbon cycle" is? Equating CO2 from burned fossil fuel to the CO2 that we breath out is ridiculous. The difference is simple. CO2 from fossil fuels releases carbon that has been buried under the earth for literally millions of years. The carbon liberated in my breath was put into the corn that fuels me within the last year from the atmosphere.

    If you were trying to point out that our industrial system of agriculture is based on huge inputs of fossil fuel for fertilizer and transportation and that it is not sustainable, then I have to agree heartily.
     
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  7. I am not surprised with all the major profits of the oil companies. I have 4 vehicles 2 from the 60's and 2 late model 97 & 05 Magnum Hemi, I know these don't help, but they are hardly driven as I have company car with good mileage, $4 a gallon does not really effect me like others and the amount of CO2 they give out is very minimal total miles for all cars per year is not over 3000 if that. But I will not buy the Japenes or German 50 mpg I am American and will continue to buy that way period, regardless of price. I drive style not punny cars that you can not tell what it is.
     
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  8. The price of fuel will keep going up until it affects the rest of the economy. At that point it will stabilize to keep the economy from collapsing. As long as people keep spending like they have too much money, soon the oil companies will have all their money. It is simple supply and demand. Double incomes have raised the balance point of supply and demand. Prices will rise until the spending stops, no matter how high that will be.
     
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  9. Well, I haven't seen too much of a difference in the way people drive. I don't mind driving fast on occasion, but most of the time my commute to work is either right at the speed limit or 5mph above in my 1997 Ford Taurus or 2003 PT Cruiser. At those speeds, I'm considered SLOW compared to almost everyone else. And I stay in the slow lane to let these idiots, manaics, (pick one or other metaphors) that fly by me in their cars, full-size pickups, SUVs, etc. at speeds 10mph-20mph higher than the speed limit. People (including myself) complain about these ridiculous prices and the oil company's record profits, but why don't people SLOW DOWN!!! Sure, I complain about the prices, and I've changed my driving habits. But I seemed to be one of a very few. If people would just slow down, then MPG would be less, making the demand for gas and oil less, allowing the price of gas and oil to go down and there'd certainly be less road rage!! I've been driving slower since 9/11! Why can't everyone else use the same method?? Afterall, most of the time, I end up catching up with these speeders at the red lights!! Driving fast doesn't mean you'll get there faster. And it's considered wreckless driving, people!!!
     
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  10. I forgot to mention in my previous message.... we can't rely on oil and gas for too long. So, my previous comment about driving slower reduces oil/gas prices and dependability is a smart, but temporary thing. Industry does need to actively and aggressively pursue alternative fuels and technologies that will replace our reliability on oil. It's just the best solution all the way around!!! It's good for our environment, good for our national security, and good for our quality of life! It's too bad we have to wait for higher oil/gas prices to put a flame under our butts. But I guess that's the way humankind works.
     
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  11. On my daily commute, I was a maniac driver. Honestly, I was driving 80 MPH on the freeway and doing all the wrong things. Since the new year, I have been really making an effort to drive more slowly and responsibly. I don't do fast starts at lights and have been really good at staying around 60 MPG to and from work. I drive less (combine errands on the way home from work is one big thing) and walk more. The result? About 4-5 more MPG and the fact that I can drive my car for two weeks now instead of about 9 days before filling up again. I also have a better piece of mind.
     
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  12. Just read an article in the Baltimore Sun today that stated part of the problem was that no new refineries have been built in the US since 1976. Don't you think Exxon/Mobil can afford to build a new refinery or two with their billions of profits from last year ?
     
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  13. Gas at $4 a gallon is still cheaper than most beverages we drink. Everyone would agree that gasoline is more valuable than Budweiser or Starbucks. Why all this drama about the price of gas?

    What is the real value, or the real cost, of fuel?
     
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  14. Add to the fuel guzzling vehicles the way people drive them. I like to drive quickly, but smoothly. I try to anticipate traffic lights and traffic speed, only accelerate hard when I need to (Ok, sometimes for fun too). I use cruise control whenever I can.

    Most people drive the opposite way. They race up to a red light, weave in and out of traffic only to get to a red light( while I roll past them, having anticipated the light) jam on the brakes, use the accelerator and brake like they are switches (gas on, brake off) etc. On the highway, they'll be the ones racing along at 90, then inexplicably slow down to 60, then up to 90 again.

    As far as the motorcycle goes, I'd like to have one. But I just don't trust the above mentioned idiots not to hit me.

    Maybe $4 gallon is what we need to get people off of their SUV and truck infatuation. That and more vehicles like the Mazda 5, Kia Rondo,etc. Vehicles that can carry a decent amount of people and gear and get decent mileage at the same time.
     
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  15. Administration has been in oil co pocket (take a look at the amendments to leases, which were nothing more than a gift from our federal treasury to the oil cos). Domestic policies have not considered the realities of the oil economy, and have done nothing but continue to feather the oil co nests. At some point there needs to be a realization by the domestic auto industry, unions, politicians, AND voters that there are a whole series of policies and technoligies that would not only be equitable,and create a level playing field, but could generate a real growth in our economy.
    Econo-boxes and lower speed limits are not the answers, we can and should do much better than simplistic, knee-jerk responses. The oil industry will have no issue or problem bringing all of us to our knees. Remember that.
     
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  16. Ah, the "global warming enthusiasts". That would include the national science academies of the G8 nations plus Brazil, India, and China, the 2500+ scientists involved in the IPCC, 19 other major scientific societies (such as the AGU and AAAS), all of whom support the scientific conclusion that global warming is real, is happening now, and is 90% likely the fault of man (see the latest IPCC report). On the other side are some industry blowhards like Bob Lutz, a few oil-industry funded cranks, and some angry car owners. The debate is over, folks.

    But, you see, the Car Connection editors feel a need to stake out a position more akin to that of ExxonMobil, which spent millions to inject doubt and propaganda into the public discourse on global warming over the past 20 years. They took lessons from the tobacco industry on how to accomplish this. For some reason TCC feels it cannot possibly go along with the overwhelming scientific consensus for fear of offending some gearheads who seem to take GW as a personal affront. That leads to such embarassing pseudoscience idiocy like Gary Witzenburg's latest column where he demonstrates his utter lack of understanding of how science works in general, and his ignorance of climate science in particular.

    Cars are going to change due to GW, TCC would be a more interesting place to visit if it looked ahead to the future and got its head out of the sand.
     
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  17. We have seen already what happens when fuel prices go up. It's not just one thing but a multitude as we are, thank god, not all the same.

    - some will keep paying more and more for gas and eventually spend less on other expenses

    - others will change their preferences and trade in their Suburban for a cross over or smaller SUV with better gas mileage. Make no mistake, they don't like it and would gladly hang on to the car they've had if there was a reasonable alternative. This is where car manufacturers could thrive or die. Those that will offer a resonable alternative will thrive. Resonable could be called $1,000 more for a diesel engine with 30% better fuel economy in the same vehicle, or $1,000 more for a hybrid with 25% better fuel economy in the same vehicle.

    - last thing one will do is change it's habits. That's not easy at all, simply because is uncomfortable, bothersome and downright against nature. We all tend to do what we like and avoid to maximum extend possible what we don't like.

    One thing it's for sure: we're living interesting times and higher fuel prices will make things even more interesting as demand for something to change will accelerate.
     
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  18. Well here in Canada farting cows spew out as much greenhouse gases as all the cars in the country. Volcanos emit much more CO2 than all of man's activities and most CO2 comes from water, man's activity is responsible for 5% of it. Plus the melting glaciers are due to changing ocean currents, which is a natural occurrence. I've also heard that CO2 has a cooling effect which may be saving us from a natural global warming weather cycle. Global warming, if it occurs won't even neceesarily be a bad thing, I haven't seen the Netherlands flooding yet. If all you brainwashed people want to believe phony science that's fine, but don't faroce your lunacy on other people! All you can do is make fun of people that don't agree with your views, there's no substance to back up this "climate change is caused by man" farce. Everyone has heard this sort of crap from so called experts in the 1970's and it all turned out to be wrong! Most environmental fanaticism is fulled by irrational emotions and hatred for humanity. Why don't you "scientists" or "protectors of the planet" clean up your lives and stop complaining about successful, happy people. As for reducing oil consumption for national security, that is a good reason.
     
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  19. Let's get realistic... Exxon-Mobil just released their first quarter 2007 earnings report - $9.3 BILLION - their best first quarter in their history. And yet our representatives in Washington do nothing..... when do we see the writing on the wall???
    Each of the last price increase rollercoaster rides were generated by occurances such as hurricanes destroying equipment or increases in hostilities in war zones that are also oil producing. What is causing the current rise??? It is only the fact that these oil companies can do what they please secure in the knowledge that our government will do nothing to check their obscene profits. Perhaps it's time to make changes in Washington.
     
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  20. $4/gallon- all I can say is bring it on! Heck $5/gallon would be better!

    As an active duty military servicemember with 5 Gulf tours under my belt (and counting), I look forward to higher oil prices because I see them as a means to wake the American public up!

    When I returned from my deployments I have been appalled by the large numbers of Hummers, Escalades, Navigators, Excursions, Explorers, Yukons, Land Rovers, Lexus SUVs and the full gamut of full-size pick-ups blasting down our highways with their over-fed, over-pampered, cell phone-toting LONE occupants behind their wheels. We've become a nation of pigs in our super-sized, gas-guzzling vehicles!

    The heck with the global-warming hype. We need to realize that our foreign oil consumption comes at the high cost of American lives. Do the USA a favor: drive less, drive slower, and please buy a fuel efficient vehicle. One more thing, when driving, get off your cell phones! I didn't dodge IEDs to get run over by a cell phone-toting inattentive driver!
     
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  21. Patrick Swayze, in the move "Roadhouse," said it best: "You ain't seen bad yet!"

    Hollywood needs another bus to ride, so they all jump on Owl Gore's Global Warming route, filled with way too much misinformation. Meanwhile, we have oil companies making record profits, a President from an oil family and a government hopelessly bereft of any clear energy policy.

    American auto manufacturers continue to push gas-sucking Escalades, F-150s, Yukons, Rams and more onto dealers lots with zero effort *truly* trying to get alternative fuel vehicles (not just over-priced hybrids that will have landfills gasping when they unload their dead batteries) to market; with oil companies making gigantic profits on Middle Eastern oil, does anyone see them trying to create a new infrastructure of stations that might be able to deliver, say, biodiesel or more E85? Nope, 'didn't think so.

    We have three choices:
    1) Turn the Middle East into a parking lot (insert your own strategy here) and dethrone the lunatics creating "fear premiums" and dictating OUR oil prices.

    2) Tax the oil companies into submission on their obscene profits.

    3) Develop a government policy requiring auto manufacturers to build fuel efficient alternative fuel vehicles and requiring oil companies to create the infrastructure to supply those vehicles.

    FOUR dollars a gallon? "You ain't seen bad yet!"
     
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  22. By the way, why DID GM kill the EV?
     
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  23. I've heard that argument about comparing other product's prices with what we've been paying for gasoline and oil... cleansers, beverages, etc, etc. And how much more we're paying for these other products than gasoline/oil. But really.... why does EVERYTHING have to be expensive?? Can't we get a break somewhere? Why not gas and oil? At least I have a choice of whether I want to buy a Budweiser or a Starbucks coffee and where to buy it (which isn't very often). But I have "NO CHOICE" in buying gas! In order get "anywhere" in this country, I'm forced to buy and use gas/oil, cuz that is pretty much all that is available to the vulnerable paying public. Sure, we could all walk. Like Stephen Wright says... "Everywhere is walking distance....... if you have the time." Well, I don't have the time to walk EVERYWHERE.
    And I'll mention it again... the oil companies are raking in the huge, record-breaking profits..... how does that happen?? And why did the gas/oil prices dip so low a few weeks before last November's election only to return to higher prices again in the middle of winter?? BP had shut down oil lines cuz of problems and repairs back in October, war in the Middle East was still going on, and the demand for gas/oil never lessened. Why did the prices dip?? Hmmm....... Supply and demand???? I don't buy it. Someone (gov't and wealthy oil companies) has a good handle on it, and we don't/can't do anything about it, except change our own habits.
     
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  24. More efficient options have been available for some time. I am speaking of diesel. People here in Detroit say it won't sell. I say that's a bunch of BS. Clean diesel technoology was been in Europe and Asia for several years. I was in S. Korea this past fall and I was amazed at how there was no odor or soot.

    There is no acceptable reason for the US comsumers to not have several models with 50MPG diesels available.

    I am starting to think the government doesn't really want us to have fuel efficient vehicles. Can you imagine the tax dollars they would lose if commuters started buying half the amount of fuel to get back and forth to work?

    Also, bio-diesel is very easy to home brew. No road taxes. I could invision the boot legger of the 21st century being a someone making bio fuels instead of whiskey.
     
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  25. I personally welcome the higher prices for the simple fact that it will finally spur on serious research and interest in alternatives. From development of Mass Transit systems to new fuel sources to changes in habits. While it might be more painful to each individual on a personal level, because our human mind has an unlimited capacity to re-engineer our environment, we will survive. (Remember, the same fears abounded before the arrival of the internal combustion engine when society was dependent upon coal).
     
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  26. To Lance:
    GM Killed the EV1 because it was a market flop despite the highest technology for fuel efficiency of any vehicle ever offered for sale. The laws of physics inevitably prevail. The best current batteries are still way too large and heavy compared to the amount of fuel, be it fossil or bio, required to store the same amount of energy. GM pulled out all of the stops in technology development and very, very heavily subsidized the price (actually lease rate, since they were available for lease only). Still, demand was miniscule. The harsh reality of our economic system is that business must be profitable to survive. No business will last long engaging in money losing activity.
     
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  27. I like four dollar a gallon I have a scooter that gets 70 mpg and if there were less cars and suvs I would be safer when I shop ;';'; retired and would like high gas prices to stop the idiots
     
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  28. ExxonMobil CLOSED a refinery and laid of workers in Michigan when they merged. All to increase prices and profits, no doubt about it in my mind.

    Just got back from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and by driving at about the speed limit, we managed to get as high as 56.8 miles per gallon in our 2005 Prius - with 3 people, two guitars, tons of luggage, food, drink, etc. It is a mid-sized car inside - yet doubles the gas mileage of virtually any other mid-sized car (we know, we also have a 2002 Hyundai Sonata V6 which just drank $39 of $2.99.9 gas last night at the local BP station).

    I also noticed over the years that Michigan drivers, particularly, are absolutely awful - speeding, tailgating. I was unhappily shocked to see U.P. drivers even worse than the average Michigan driver.

    I do at least get a chuckle when I inevitably catch up to the idjit drivers who blow past me 15-20 over the limit, at the next red light....

    My wife mocks them mercilessly (if they could only hear....) as they blow past.

    "Big engine, little willy....".
     
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  29. By the way, the ice caps on Mars are melting and have been for the same 60 years that we've had a general warm-up - at the same time as we've seen solar activity increase.

    Either that, or those dang Martians need to buy fewer Hummers.

    However, I also must say - good stewardship of resources means we should be logical and buy as much vehicle as we need, not as much as we WANT for our egos.

    99% of drivers drive alone. We could stop importing oil and cut consumption drastically here in America IF we tried, IF we cared and IF we thought things through.

    But, human kind has never been logical, nor smart, nor good stewards. So, we will continue to pay - in more ways than one.
     
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  30. By the way again, I'm not convinced by Al Gore and gang. I STRONGLY suspect that they elite powers-that-be just want the rest of us to use less oil so they have more later, when there is less coming out of the ground.

    It's mosly water vapor which causes global warming, so then WHY are we Americans and others trying to establish a (non-viable) "hydrogen economy" - so that water vapor comes out of the tail pipe of all cars?!

    Hydrogen is not a fuel, it is an energy carrier - and at this time (and any time in the forseeable future) it MAKES NO SENSE.

    We need to skip straight to the Electron economy. Electric cars, run from wind and sun. For long trips, we could simply call Enterprise Rental-Car, Hertz, U-Haul, whomever - and rent a "hybrid trailer" (using two pivit points under the rear bumper and one wheel, to allow the bio-diesel or butanol (from sugar beet) fuelled generator and fuel tank to be at the rear of the car for the duration of long trips, turning an electric car into a hybrid).

    See? We just have to think outside the box a bit. Unfortunately, we won't.

    We could be using garbage, offal and sewage right now and making bio-diesel. See www.changingworldtech.com and read it for yourself. We could be making bio-butanal from sugar beet (about 300% more efficient than making butanol from corn), as the Irish and British are going to do. These are drop-in replacements for gasoline, by the way (Butanol is a 4-carbon chain alcohol). www.butanol.com
     
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  31. I cant belive what i just read in all these writings.....most of yall have to live in a big city were you can ride a scooter or walk everywere..why dont americans grow a set and stand up to this uncalled for price goughing. Its abvious thats what it is or Exxon wouldnt have made all they have all ready this quarter....its crazy. There is now way gas should be as high as it is. Supply and Demand they talk about is...Americans supply these jerks with money cause they demand yachts and manisons.....and am i gonna buy one of those rice burners to help other countrys....i dont think so....I will continue to drive my they biggest baddest AMERICAN cars i can find.
     
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  32. 1. Obscene profits? Do you mean profits or profit margins? In other words, to make $1 of profit how much do you need to spend? Oil companies don't have a very good profit margin. Soft drinks and cosmetics do much better. BTW, if you add up the taxes on a gallon of gas the various governments make more than the oil company does. And those "obscene profits" are what come back into your 401K. They go to the guy who owns a few shares thru his retirement account.
    2. It is much easier to close an old inefficient refinery than it is to build a new one. The one in Michigan that closed was not efficient or profitable (read: it cost more to operate than it produced) in the present tax/regulation climate. Try building a new one. See how difficult it is. The lawsuits that you must win will cost as much as the construction cost. The NIMBY attitude is alive and well. Even if the refinery will be 5 or 10 miles away. A refinery must be somewhere away from the people with the lawsuits, close to crude oil sources, away from any rare wildlife, close to sources of workers, etc, etc. Up to a point, it is easier to increase capacity of an old facility. There are good reasons why no new refineries have been built in the USA in the past few decades. (Or nuclear power plants either. Do you realize how much CO2 coal fired power plants emit?)
    3. The American public will get fuel efficient cars when they will buy fuel efficient cars. Chevy marketed the Geo Metro from around 1990 to 97. 45 mpg all day long at 60-65 mph. Yes, they do last. I put 250,000 miles on one before my son wrecked it, and have a couple of others with over 170,000 miles on them. Chevy could hardly give them away. Efficient, reliable transportation from point A to point B. Horsepower, speed and size, not efficiency, are what you want? Then don't complain at the pump.
    4. In the 50ties, 60ties when the most economic cars were being made overseas, an American could go to a foriegn country, buy a new car, take a vacation there and bring his new fuel efficient car home. (There was one company that actually advertised such a package!) We have allowed, in the name of "safety", our government to stop that source of competition to our auto companies. Try going to Japan, buying and bringing back a "K" car! (50-65 MPG) It will meet German or Japanese or British safety requirements, but those can't be good enough for Americans! Open the door so that we can buy any car we want, worldwide, and get the government out of the car engineering and auto company protection businesses and we might actually get the fuel efficient cars we want. They are out there, just not available to Americans.
     
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