Author Topic: US TV news on gas prices and small cars  (Read 5322 times)

Jim Janecek

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US TV news on gas prices and small cars
« on: May 20, 2008, 02:27:31 AM »
I posted this bit from the CBS morning news here

http://www.microcar.org

the content is old news to most of you in the UK, but in the US, every TV news show has to have at LEAST one "news" report on rising gas prices and what people are doing to "cope".
Most of the stories consist of people pumping gas and saying "yeah its really bad" or "yeah I will have get a smaller car I guess" or a "reporter" saying "So is it SMART to get a smart?"

anyways, interesting to see them borrow Top Gear's "drive a Peel indoors" bit, but substitute a Trident replica and use it for grocery shopping...



P50

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Re: US TV news on gas prices and small cars
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2008, 06:35:48 AM »
Hello Jim,

Smarts are the way forwards. I remember reading that one time you couldn't legally drive a Smart (660cc Turbo 1st series) in the US as they weren't type approved for US roads. Seems now that's sorted. I'd like to think they'd sell by the thousand. Great cars. I quite fancy a Brabus!

What makes me laugh is a gallon in the US is around 4 bucks. Two quid! We're paying £1.15 - £1.25 a litre. Thats a £5.50 - £6 gallon or 12 bucks. So we're still paying nigh on THREE times the price. (not taking into account our Imperial gallon is a bit more that a US gallon).

Why bother buying a Smart when in real terms fuel in the States is for nothing...

Nice to see a Trident rep going through a supermarket. Doesn't really work with the hinge door though. Couldn't Mr Lane loaned his P50? (rep!)
"Men of worth act like men of worth, and men of genius, who produce
things beautiful and excellent, shine forth far better when other people
praise them than when they boast so confidently of their own achievements."
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Bob Purton

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Re: US TV news on gas prices and small cars
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2008, 08:53:54 AM »
Hi Jim. That was a fun video! All the ideas and gags from our program were nicked but I guess thats what you call recyling! Is 30/40 mpg really all a smart does? I get better fuel consumpson from my Fiat Grande Punto. We have our colonial cousins coming to staying later this week from South Carolina and all they drawl on about [and they do drawl] is fuel prices in the US, they will be hiring a car in the UK and will suddenly discover the true meaning of high fuel prices. My sister-in- law recently downsized from a huge Ford station wagon to a BMW Mini so some over there are getting the message.

AndrewG

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Re: US TV news on gas prices and small cars
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2008, 09:52:42 AM »
A nerd writes: the £1.10 per litre near me is $8.20 per US gallon - £1.25 per litre is actually $9.30 per US gallon!

The Smart car is very clever because it achieves decent crash ratings from a small car - as good as the next size up Mercedes which is a lot bigger.  But the penalty is that it isn't light (750kg for the lightest is less than even the baby Toyota/Citroen/Peugeot at 800kg, but more than an original Mini at 640kg), it is a little narrower than a small conventional car, but it is higher by an equal amount.  The shortness looks good but it's only an advantage when not parking in marked bays.

So it weighs the same as a small conventional car and has at least as much frontal area (and the short length means it's hard to get a low drag shape), so it's no surprise that it isn't any more economical. As it also costs the same, the major reason for buying it would seem to be the way it looks - it's another frock-on-wheels, like the new Mini.

Andrew

Smart51

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Re: US TV news on gas prices and small cars
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2008, 01:03:17 PM »
I used to have a Smart.  Infact I had two, the original 600cc and then the later 700cc.  I loved them, apart from the reliability which wasn't all it could be.  That's the reason I got rid of the last one.  That and the helpfulness of the Mercedes dealer who wasn't interested in fixing it.

I averaged 54 MPG (imperial) in the 700cc car.  I also average 54 MPG in my Peugeot 107 (same as a toyota aygo).  Both have official comsumption figures of 61 MPG.

The new smart has a 1000cc engine and is both longer and wider than the original.  I'm guessing that the MPG won't be any better, but with ith luck, some of the common failures will be fixed.

54 MPG imperial = 43 MPG US
61 MPG imperial = 49 MPG US

The euro and federal tests are different so figures will vary.

Jim Janecek

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Re: US TV news on gas prices and small cars
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2008, 02:26:54 PM »
The mpg for the new smart is indeed between 35 and 45-ish.

part of this is the larger engine, the fact that it is NOT a diesel and depending on where you are, the gas is diluted with 10% ethanol.

You could legally drive the 1st generation smart on US roads only if you were a foreign citizen who brought the car in to use while you were in the US for up to one year.
What you could not legally do was sell that car to a US Citizen and if you did, that US Citizen would not be able to "legally" register the car for Road Use because it had not gone through the proper testing channels.
This did not stop people from smuggling them in and getting false paperwork for them though.

It is still the only modern microcar available to us at this time.
There are some 3-wheel things from China springing up with engines from 250cc to 900cc.
They are supposed to be registered as motorcycles so they are exempt from the normal 4-wheel "car" tests.

However, there is a Motorcycle group lobbying to change this "trike" loophole so it will keep the "cars" out of that class.

P50

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Re: US TV news on gas prices and small cars
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2008, 04:38:57 PM »
The mpg for the new smart is indeed between 35 and 45-ish.


On that basis there is no point at all in running a new Smart. As ever (like the VW Golf etc etc) the original concept has been lost and the weight has piled on.
In the UK, The mini VW Lupo came out but was as big as the original Polo. The Polo became as large, in fact heavier than a Mk1 Golf which was a superb car. And the Golf became a huge bloated tank which ended up with an optional 3.2 litre engine if required! The MK1 GTI had a 1600! The Lupo has been replaced with the Fox which is a big car! Shame as VW sold a mega efficient Lupo 3ltr. That had lots of magnesium and underbody aerodynamics to get the magic 100km's to 3ltrs of derv.  

35 - 45ish to the gallon? That's pathetic. You can get a C1,107 type Eurobox that does 70ish mpg on diesel.  

Saving fossil fuel? Don't make me chortle. I suspect SUV's are still flying out of Ford dealers with the V8 option merrily ticked.

I suspect true Micros such as the Isettas,KR's that were marketed in the US in the 50's were viewed as oddities. Nothing more. History repeats itself a la Smart..






"Men of worth act like men of worth, and men of genius, who produce
things beautiful and excellent, shine forth far better when other people
praise them than when they boast so confidently of their own achievements."
-Benvenuto Cellini

marcus

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Re: US TV news on gas prices and small cars
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2008, 10:56:16 PM »
Nice clip, Jim. This fuel price thing is familiar to me...on my trips to Dallas Texas where some of my drums are made my business partner sometimes remarked on the price of petrol. For a while I left it, then one time I said that I wonder why American Petrol Stations bother charghing for it when it's so cheap! Actually that vid looks familiar, do you know where it was shot?
As for growing cars: first model Nissan Micra: small. 2nd model: small/medium, 3rd model...what is "Micra" about it?
Just remember: as one door closes behind you, another slams in your face