Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Writer Says Fuel Efficient Cars Aren't For Tall Folks

Letter to the editor: Tall folks' nightmare
Moscow-Pullman Daily News

PULLMAN, Wash. - Have proponents of a vehicle fleet that averages 54.5 mpg any idea what adverse consequences lie in their campaign to save the environment from greenhouse gases or to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

The resulting little cars are a nightmare for tall folks. At 6 feet 2 inches, I don't consider myself particularly tall (several people in my family are significantly taller), until I try to get into some of these mini-cars. Little cars are fine for little people. They also may be for young folks who don't have bad knees or hips, or stenosis in the lower back.

I'd like to buy a Jeep Wrangler; but with the seat pushed as far back as it goes, I can barely get my feet on the pedals. I couldn't safely drive it.

But this isn't even the beginning of the nightmare. The maniacal push for high gas mileage is driving a lot of expensive technology on consumers, and it isn't accounted for by proponents.

Just one example (to cope with space limitations on letter length): Disc brakes. Ever notice as the miles build up they begin to pulse and you have to have a mechanic true (grind down) the rotors? That's because engineers have made the rotors so thin (to save weight) that the heat of braking warps them. So there's a costly repair job. And it can only be done a time or two before you have to replace the rotors.

Any mechanic could cite a dozen or more other examples.

Terence L. Day,

I've heard a lot of objections to electric and more fuel efficient cars (the batteries are too expensive, there's nowhere to plug them in, you can't buy ethanol just anywhere, you can't charge solar panels at night, etc.) but this is a new one. Any tall, or short, people have a rebuttal or supporting argument?


John Wesley Leek said...

At 6'6" I can't fit in most vehicles. I drive a truck, but the primary reason is that I can drive a distance and not be in pain when I get there. That makes it worth it even with high fuel costs.

SRTC Staff said...

You would think that with all the technology someone could make a fuel efficient car not as a big as a truck that is also comfortable for taller people.

thewalkingtree said...

It is true. I love the idea of high efficiency anything and renewable energy but these clown cars are not in any way made with 6'9" folks like myself in consideration. The push for artificially higher gas prices hurts the poor the most and especially the tall and working class. Political debate aside, it plain bites to be tall and figure out transportation.

SRTC Staff said...

Thanks for the comment @thewalkingtree. I hate to say it, but there probably aren't many cars made with 6'9" folks in consideration. Maybe that's a new marketing niche- with people basically growing bigger (taller and otherwise), maybe someone could target the market for larger folks with comfortable cars that are still fuel efficient. A friend just bought a Juke and I had to fold up like a pretzel to get into the back seat- and I'm not very tall.

I've found that, when it comes to transportation, the poor are disadvantaged in general, not just when it comes to gas prices. Those less fortunate often live further from services, where transportation choices are limited; the vehicles they can afford are less reliable, require more maintenance and use more fuel; and alternative transportation choices are often not a real option due to health or other issues.

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