A Different Kind of Power Grab

All I want for Christmas . . .

Assigned Reading: Fuel Standards Are Killing G.M.
(FROM: The Wall Street Journal)

Driving my sexy half-dozen-year-old, V-6 minivan with the squeaky brakes into work yesterday, I was passed on I-95 heading northbound by a brand-new, dark blue Chevrolet Camaro.


Back in April, when it was announced that the venerable American automaker would be shuttering its Pontiac brand and I reacted by blathering on about my beloved 1984 Recaro Edition Trans-Am, I mentioned the “ear-splittingly loud” sound made by that beautiful car. It rumbled. It shook the ground around it. It just oozed power. It sounded fast. I still have dreams that I’m driving that car.

Yesterday, however, even though my windows were down and my sunroof was open (it saves money on gas, and we’re on a tight budget), I couldn’t hear the Camaro as it blew by me on the left side. As soon as I saw it closing the gap in my side-view mirror, I turned down the radio and perked up my ear, waiting to hear that gutteral roar. But there was none. It made me sad — even though I’ve always been a Trans-Am guy and condescendingly looked down my nose at the Chevy F-body counterpart, with the fresh absence of GM’s Pontiac “excitement” division, I would consider buying a new Camaro. (After I get some of that lawyer money, though, and pay off all of our debt. And after I buy my wife that Mustang she’s been pining for.) But with the new CAFE standards and Obama’s energy policy on the horizon, I just don’t see how GM will be able to offer the power and sound I’d eventually look for.

Yesterday, I took a cruise on General Motors’ cumbersome Web site for a little fantasy research, much in the same way I might look at a vacation resort we can’t quite yet afford, or that 1911 that’s just out of my reach. I was delighted to see that not only does the interior of the Camaro seem top-notch, but that the vehicle is offered with a 304-horsepower V-6 as well as a 426-horsepower V-8. So maybe some of the Camaros do rumble, but the question is: for how long?

Consider this from the Wall Street Journal piece:

The actual Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) results will depend on the mixture of fuel-thrifty and fuel-thirsty vehicles consumers choose to buy from each manufacturer — not on what producers hope to sell. That means only those companies most successful in selling the smallest cars with the smallest engines will, in the future, be allowed to sell the more profitable larger pickups and SUVs and more powerful luxury and sports cars.

Sales of Toyota’s Prius, Yaris, Corolla and Scion, for example, allow and encourage Toyota to market more Lexus 460s, Sequoia SUVs and Tundra pickups in the U.S. without incurring fines. Hyundai’s success selling Accent and Elantra compacts allows it to sell 368-horsepower Genesis sedans.

Right now, if someone is looking for an inexpensive, reliable vehicle made in America by American workers, many of the Japanese and Korean automakers offer entry-level vehicles for much less cost and much more value than similar offerings by General Motors, manufactured in Canada and Mexico. Where GM excels is in its sport utility vehicles and its trucks, and where the company will make an impression is in its sports cars — very few of which will be available to the public if the Democrats and president have their way. Look for interest in GM to dwindle even further, as taking away the option to buy the cars people want is just the liberals’ latest salvo in their War Against Success and Prosperity.

After all, nobody really pines for a brand new Chevy Aveo, do they? The Cobalt doesn’t have anyone cheering, does it? GM needs to make people salivate again.

Heck, being passed by a new Camaro yesterday, as horribly silent as it may have been, was enough to get me–who is light years away from purchasing another vehicle, nonetheless one without a sliding door and recepticles for stray Cheerios–to tool around the GM Web site and wish I could afford to take one home.

Because of the interference of Barack Obama’s White House and the Democrat-controlled Congress, however, General Motors will likely soon be forced to remove perhaps its best arrow from its marketing quiver (much like Obama’s habit of hamstringing the American military and intelligence communities removes arrows from our national security quiver), and the automotive company owned by you and by me may truly go the way of the Tucker.

On the bright side, though, perhaps when everyone else is white-knuckling it down I-95 in some Congress-approved, glorified golf cart, my squeaky, rattling, six-year-old shaggin’ wagon might not seem that bad, after all.



  1. Chuck in San Diego says:

    I see the '68 profile on the new one. What a fun car !! I've always been partial to AC Cobras…but you've got to admit there were many classics.

    Good choice Jeff !!

  2. Celia in TX says:

    I have my eye on a Mazda5 minivan.

    But we are also students of Dave Ramsey. I am committed to paying off my Dodge Grand Caravan which will take just shy of 2 years. Then, if I save the car payment for another 2 years, I could buy a used Mazda5 in cash. That puts me in my van for another 4 years, obviously.

    But I fear the government messing up my plan. What if I'm forced out of my van before it's paid off? Or to buy my next car before I have the cash?

    Is the government going to be able to force me to take on a debt when I am striving very hard not to take on any more?

  3. Anonymous says:

    You won't want that after you read this (this is not a joke, it is a real report written by actual "humans"):

    White Paper: The Carbon Footprint Of Water

    By Bevan Griffiths-Sattenspiel and Wendy Wilson

    The decisions being made today regarding the management of water and energy resources will profoundly affect our economic and environmental future. Climate change and other stresses are limiting the availability of clean water and cheap energy. A large amount of energy is expended to supply, treat and use water, meaning that water-oriented strategies can result in significant reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. This report explores the energy and carbon emissions embedded in the nation's water supplies.

  4. Rix says:

    When gas price hits double digits – likely right after 2010 election results are tallied – you will want to reconsider your taste in cars.

    The more I think of every single policy and legislation piece Obama pushes for, including energy, the more I realize that his goal is to screw the suburban and countryside areas in favor of urban districts. Whether the reason is electoral payback, class warfare or genetic-level hatred for white colonizers, I cannot say, but list all of his controversial agenda dots and you'll see it clearly.

  5. Celia in TX says:

    All Obama knows is urban America. He doesn't know anything about the rest of us, not a darn thing.

  6. Linda says:

    No, I won't want to rethink my choice in cars. I will continue to drive my suv as gas prices escalate. I just won't go to work anymore and go on the doles like seemingly the majority of of America thinks is the way to go.

    You'll have to pry my cold dead hands away from my keys before I'll drive one of these death traps that don't allow me to go further than the grocery store across the street.

  7. goddessdivine says:

    It's a sad day in America when the govt will be dictating what we drive and how we drive it. I dread the day when my 'gas-guzzling' SUV will be pried from my fingertips and I will be forced to drive some tin can that is no match for a semi.

  8. suek says:

    Look on the bright side…

    Didn't you have a great time at the carnivals (or whatever recreation places you frequented as a kid) driving bumper cars? That joie de vivre can be yours once again!

    And another plus will be the end of street racing…what fun will it be to drag silently down the biggest street in town??

    And Nascar…can you imagine car races running all those laps – silently – around and around??? It could be the end of the red-neck culture! There are definitely some who would consider that a good thing!

  9. Anonymous says:

    suek – i'm proud of my redneck friends…don't know who you've come up against, but i'd rather be with a redneck than some of these elitists who are "in your face" thru our media

  10. CALL 911 AND THE MORGUE says:

    Look at that pansy in the oversized shopping cart….. can't wait to hit him with my 96 Bonneville.

  11. suek says:

    Anony at 2:16…

    No problem. I'm pro-redneck myself. But you _would_ agree, wouldn't you, that there are a definite group of people in power who consider rednecks to be way too fond of their guns and religion? And they're the ones pushing for these cars, and they're the ones who would welcome an end to redneck-ism.
    I'm not much into cars – but hey…whatever floats your boat! (I'm not much into boats either!) I don't understand the pull of the NASCAR races…it struck me as really funny that they'd have major silence with these electric cars. I have a feeling it would be a crowd killer – what do you think? Can you imagine a NASCAR race with electric cars?

  12. daenku32 says:

    I just wonder if the 96 Bonneville owner considers Harley riders pansies as well. They have even less protection than the 'shopping cart' driver.

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