When buying a new vehicle, gas economy was a key point for at least one-third of American car buyers. Due to the preoccupation today with air pollution, global warming and America’s dependence on foreign sources of oil, it’s actually shocking to learn that as long ago as 1992 a car that got 100 miles to the gallon was built by General Motors. Another automobile, the GM TPC, which looked a lot like the Geo Metro, weighed only 1000 pounds and could get 75 miles per gallon. Regrettably, as a way to meet American safety regulations, the 3-cylinder vehicle required reinforcement weighing 200 pounds, which resulted in further development being discarded.
This is not the only protype built by GM which ended up on the scrapheap. These kinds of automobiles include the GM Lean-Machine in 1982 at 80 MPG, along with the GM Ultralite which got 100 MPG. When Honda in 1992 reached 50 mpg with the Civic VX, GM was offering cars that got 20 mpg, while in the background they had vehicles capable of 100 mpg. Because cars have already been designed that get 100 miles per gallon, then why are they not being offered to the general public?
It is just a weird phenomenon that some companies sell traditional vehicles in the US, but sell different, more efficient cars in other countries. Buyers in Japan and Europe have for many years now been able to get cars that do 70 miles per gallon and more. To illustrate, the Volswagen Lupo has never been marketed in the US – this is a car that gets 78 mpg. In 2007, Honda in America released the FIT, elsewhere known as the Jazz. You can get economy-boosting options with the Jazz in Japan, say for example a smaller engine and other ways to reduce consumption, but not so with the Fit in the US.
In North America the manufacturers point out they have to build big cars simply because that is what the American public wants. Building a small commuter type vehicle doesn’t make the manufacturer big money, unlike with a large SUV. American residents have been brainwashed with commercials to believe that they just must have the latest and largest bundu basher. Because options have never been offered shows where the big companies have their interests. Leading the way in fuel economy may have been General Motors, but they choose to often be the leader in SUVs instead. Americans haven’t been denied merely by GM, but also by all the other manufacturers who have developed fuel-efficient cars.
We live in a world that has fought wars over oil, that has been polluted, and car makers have never even given the choice to people in this country of fuel-efficient cars. The question comes up: how many Americans would have welcomed the option of getting a car with good gas mileage but weren’t ever offered it? Might it be time to retrieve those dumped designs and, again, start building those vehicles that were once built a long time ago?