Detroit Deserves Nothing

I WOULD LIKE TO REBUT JERRY FLINT'S commentary, “Detroit Three Deserve Help” (see WAW — Sept. '08, p.48). The Detroit Three do not deserve taxpayer help. Neither do the failing banks, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and other companies that mismanage their dealings. I would ask Jerry, who comes to the rescue when the taxpayer needs to be bailed out?

If Detroit auto makers squander their finances, pay their executives millions of dollars and mismanage themselves, they should be cut off — just like my water, electricity and phone.
Marty Lawson
Harrodsburg Ky.

Jerry Fint writes, “Detroit auto makers have made plenty of mistakes, but that doesn't mean they should not be helped.” This opinion makes no sense in a democratic free-market economy. In fact, it is socialist in nature.

The comparison of government spending on other issues like agriculture and the mortgage crisis are irrelevant. There are other mitigating factors involved that require this spending. The U.S. auto makers, however, have been in decline for years due to their own negligence and mismanagement. They simply can't produce competitive products that are as desirable and durable as the foreign brands.

I found it amusing when GM blamed their issues a few years back on the yen exchange rate. What's the excuse du jour?
Jim H. Winter
Valparaiso, IN

Mileage Gains Worthwhile

I READ YOUR EDITORIAL ON “VEHICULAR Communism” (see WAW — Oct. '08, p.3) but do not agree with you completely. It is true the North American market is different from Europe and Asia, and we should not start going around driving Smart cars.

This summer I changed vehicles and, in spite of soaring gas prices, I chose a minivan because I have young children and relatives from Europe visit often. But I think the push toward better fuel economy and electric powertrains is good. Larger vehicles can be more fuel efficient through the use of new technologies.

Look at GM's 2-mode hybrid fullsize SUVs: They achieve (almost) the same fuel efficiency as a V-6 Toyota Camry. Mandating fleet mpg favors the Japanese and European OEMs that have more small cars already.

Instead, the government should mandate efficiency improvements that are linked to the vehicle class and size. A hybrid minivan or SUV will not be as fuel efficient as a Smart car. But if an OEM can improve its fuel efficiency by 30% or 40% it is still moving in the right direction.
Paolo Paglialunga
Toronto, ON

Natural Gas, Naturally

IN YOUR EDITORIAL YOU SAID, “THE Honda Civic GX has all the disadvantages of flex-fuel E85 vehicles and none of the benefits” (see WAW — Sept. '08, p.3).

I disagree. You failed to mention the GX is the greenest production car out there. It takes more energy and money to produce E85 than gasoline, and a gallon of E85 contains less energy than the same amount of gasoline. Therefore, E85 is more harmful to the environment.

Natural gas cost less than E85. Also, with the Civic GX, you have the option of getting a Phill home refilling system. You don't have to worry about the inadequate refueling infrastructure. Every morning your car is fully charged overnight by Phill to the car's full range, which is about 250 miles (402 km). I would also like to mention, in California you can drive the GX solo in the HOV carpool lane.

I understand it takes time to educate consumers about new technology. I have driven the GX for six years. I think it has far more benefits than driving on E85.
Sam Chen
Los Alamitos, CA

P.S. In California there's a $2,000 incentive for buying a Phill. Here's the website link: http://www.aqmd.gov/news1/2005/phillhomerefuelingunitpr.html

We want your feedback. Please email comments to Editor Drew Winter at dwinter@wardsauto.com. Include your name, city and state. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.