I'm not sure what you're saying. As far back as the late 1990s, GM was perfectly capable of designing a 40 mpg car: the Saturn SL-1. No reason to think only Toyota can do this.
The reason it takes federal mandates, to achieve this fleet-wide, is that individual car buyers only want high fuel efficiency for the "other guy," not for themselves. Individuals have an uncanny ability to create excuses for themselves.
By the way, check out how much horsepower the 2012 GM 3.6 liter V-6 can generate, compared even with the brand new, similar design Mercedes 3.5 liter V-6 for the 2012 model year. GM beats Mercedes by close to 20 HP.
So, there's simply no valid reason to think that American car companies don't know how to design engines and cars. It's up to individuals to do what's responsible.
I totally agree. Government is not necessarily the problem but in some cases it actually is the solution. I agree that not everything the goverment does is right. Unfortunately, if we left it up to the industry to adhere to safety rules or care for the environment, it is not going to happen.
Unfortunately if fuel efficiency standards were mandated, we would have essentially no companies (i.e. American and some others) improve them on cars. We would be stuck with Gas Guzzlers. Not to say that anyone is forcing us to buy those but then the alternative would only be Toyota. I hear what you are saying but I think it is a good idea to have a fuel efficiency mandate. If setting a goal for 54.5 Gallons/mile gets us to above 40 MPG, I will be happy.
Call it "freedom" to act irresponsibly, if you like, but then we shouldn't be accusing the GMs of the world to be in bed with the oil companies. The problem is the consumer, not the corporations or the government.
I guess that is my main beef in all of this. Every tom, dick, and harry can come up with an excuse why they "need" to drive ridiculous vehicles, or why they "need" to live in homes with 6000 sq ft of floor space, or they "need" to live 30 miles from work. The problem comes when the excesses of self-indulgence from a significant enough fraction of the population affect everyone else too. You know, like smokers. Same sort of effect.
The problem is the pickup truck. We cannot assume that fuel economy is just about the engine.
Pickup trucks are hopelessly un-aerodynamic, hopelessly primitive in the drive train, hopelessly overweight due to their separate frame and body, the tires are inefficient too, with way too high a cross section (too much flexing rubber that eats energy). All of this because they are meant to be trucks, so they trade off efficiency for load carrying ability.
Obviously, starting with such an inefficent platform, you can't expect engine tweaking to make a big difference.
Although it would help to install a diesel engine with very low power. And then no one would buy it.
No progress on fuel mileage may be partly my fault.
I want a car that has some acceleration, some speed and performance, without the Tesla price tag. Thats called freedom.
When I was growing up your heard the lament that we need to keep government out of our bedrooms. Well now the same folks have given them the keys to our garages, our power meters, out kitchens, our bathrooms, and more into our wallets than ever!!
To say take it out of the political realm is not possible. It is political. Its about freedom and control over our lives. It's about what the government should be doing, and NOT doing.
I want a fast car, I want a loud sound system, I want to eat a rare burger, I want a reveal light bulb, and I want a toilet that will actually flush my big meat filled log down on one try.
I can only wish they were just in my bedroom because they really can't control that anyway.
Give me power for a reasonable cost and I don't really care what technology makes it. Theres a reason we use oil folks - beacuse its the most cost effective fuel we've found so far. If the oil actually runs out, guess what, then we'll use something else, and it won't cost a penny more than what ever it takes to develop ahead of time today.
We lose a lot of time and energy when these sorts of arguments become politicized. Doing so seems to be a pretty common human trait though. Global warming. Lead in electronics. Nuclear safety. It's easy enough to set off long debates on any of those, or a host of other subjects.
There's isn't enough hard data, or at least the hard data generally seems to be held someplace that I can't find. It's pretty easy to claim one conclusion or the other when there are so many unknowns. Nobody can truly refute such an argument because the "data" is equally ambiguous on all sides or is so obscured by emotional noise that what's real can't be picked out of a line up.
I see a real lack of progress in the fuel mileage area. I drive a 1995 pickup truck. When new, it was rated 15mpg city and 17mpg highway. A few years back, I looked at replacing it with the same but newer model. In the ten years between purchasing the one I currently drive and looking at the new model, the rated gas mileage had dropped by three mpg. Every other aspect of the vehicle (that I could think of) had improved. But the mileage had dropped.
One of these days, I'll get something that gets 40mpg. In the mean time, I'll keep this thing until it drops and I'll continue to walk to work four out of five days. I'm one of the lucky ones that lives close enough to do so.
I really don't mind seeing fuel mileage standards mandated, but I would like to see it done with more logic. I would really like to see the mandated improvements focused on the lowest mileage vehicles. A five mpg increase in a vehicle in the class of mine will have a much greater impact than a five mpg increase in a vehicle that already gets 30mpg.
Given 15,000 miles per year.
At 15mpg = 1,000 gallons per year
At 30mpg = 500 gallons per year
At 20mpg = 750 gallons (save 250)
At 35mpg = 428 gallons (save 72)
I know where I'd spend my research dollar.