Why Repeat Oil Failures?

IN RESPONSE TO JOHN MCELROY'S column (see WAW — July '11, p.14), of course the price of oil fluctuates.

The higher the price, the more sophisticated technology is used to extract the more difficult oil. That is why we see discoveries in deep offshore Brazil and Gulf of Mexico (the 1-Macondo well was one of the top 10 discoveries of last year).

Remember that roughly 50% of our oil supply is used to drive cars, and that the U.S. controls only about 3% of the world's oil reserves and 4.8% (with Canada) of natural-gas reserves. Finally, you pay little attention to the amount of carbon dioxide that is produced burning that oil and gas that the world's oceans are absorbing, probably to their detriment.

The question is not whether the price of oil will go up and down — it always will. At our burn rate, which now includes growing middle-class India and China, why would we not try to lessen our dependence to increase our national security and at the same time try to lessen our impact on Earth's climate systems?

You appear to be a student of history, with regard to oil and gas. Why should we repeat our previous failures every time the price of oil and gas goes up, by not acting to minimize the next shock? Why do we always choose the road you propose, ignoring the problem because we know it will likely go away, for a while?
Tim Drexler
Downers Grove, IL

Big A-Pillars Dangerous

GREAT ARTICLE ON A-PILLAR SAFETY (see WAW — Aug. '11, pp.22). I have been complaining for years about them — they create huge blind spots. I have an '05 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and I nearly pulled into the path of a vehicle that was coming from the right because I couldn't see it.

I recently rented a Ford Taurus, which drove great but visibility was terrible because of the A-pillars and the short windows. I could never own a car like that.

In the future, when I buy something new, visibility will be an important factor. As the population gets older, stretching your neck in all directions gets harder.

Also, I wish side mirrors would be placed lower because they create a large blind spot. My '74 Dodge Dart and '78 Dodge Aspen have great visibility. I feel like I am driving an open-top Army Jeep.

Something else you have to wonder about: Are we killing more people because of the visibility problems associated with large A-pillars than we are saving by making the roof structure stronger?
Neil Ternet
Monroeville, IN

Look-Alikes Noted

I DON'T KNOW IF YOUR COVER STORY in the July issue (“Will Aero Kill Exterior Design”) and the two vehicles highlighted in the New Wheels section was a coincidence or actually on purpose (see WAW — July. '11, pp.30).

The pictures of the Prius V (p.37) and Saab 9-4X (p.38) look similar, especially from the back. Without looking closely, you could almost not tell the difference.
Jim Otterbein
York, PA

Editor's note: The layout was coincidental but, in some ways, illustrates the point of the cover story.

Expand eAssist to CUVs

THANKS FOR THE ARTICLE ABOUT GM'S eAssist system, but I feel GM should sell it in the Equinox and GMC Terrain (see WAW — May '11, pp.32).

People love their SUVs because of more flexibility for the family. I think a person would more likely spend $30,000 for an Equinox or Terrain than a Buick Lacrosse because it's more cost-effective.

The CUVs would draw more customers to the table than the Buick would. Family is the key! I think GM is missing the boat on this one. eAssist sounds like a great idea, though.
Steve Carrreau
Attleboro, MA

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.