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Raising The Bar

Last year, the government revised the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations for the first time since 1975. The revised CAFE regulations state that the fleets of automakers must average 35.5 mpg by the model year 2016 or they will face a substantial fine. I think it’s great that the government is pushing for more fuel efficient cars but what I don’t think they realize is that the best selling cars in America are actually pickup trucks. Those big, noisy, gas guzzlers are loved by Americans, and that love isn’t suddenly going to disappear. I also don’t see the low mpg rating on these trucks disappearing by 2016 so that would mean that Ford and Chevy would have to counterbalance this by making extremely high mpg cars. This leads me into what I want to discuss, which is the fact that these automakers can make dull high mpg cars, that they know won’t sell, in order to counterbalance the low mpg of their top selling sports cars and trucks.
Although it may not seem like it, automakers tend to make the majority of their profits off of their trucks and high performance cars. Most people might believe that cheap cars that sell in high volumes are the main money makers for auto companies. Although they make profit off the cheap cars, it’s the expensive, top of the line cars that automakers make the most profit on. I think that companies like Porsche, Ferrari, and Lamborghini that only sell expensive, luxury or high performance cars will have to make the most adjustments to their fleet by 2016. However, for companies like Mercedes Benz, BMW, and Audi that sell both reasonably priced cars and high priced cars, the introduction of a new model with an extremely high mpg rating may be a very reasonable solution. This could counterbalance the low mpg rating of the AMG line for Mercedes Benz, the M line for BMW, the S class for Audi, as well as the trucks and SUV’s produced by these companies.
If one takes a look at any current automobile magazine they will see that many concept cars of the future are much smaller than those being produced now. The Audi A1 and Mercedes Benz A class are two examples of this. Both cars are much smaller than any other car the company has out on the road and have much higher mpg ratings. I believe these small concept cars are pretty cool and innovative, but won’t really catch on in America. We’re not like the Europeans who must drive small cars because the price of gas is so damn high. If the price of gas were seven or eight dollars a gallon, I think electric and small cars would be forced into the American lifestyle.
To be honest, I think that these automakers could care less about the environment and that they’re all about selling cars that make them the most profit. Researching eco-friendly technology like fully electric cars and high mpg rating cars costs a lot of money. In fact GM and Nissan have admitted that they lose money on every Volt and Leaf that they sell. I believe that the real reason why automakers are creating electric, hybrid, and high mpg rating cars is because it’s a means to an end. They have to meet the 35.5 average mpg rating, so if they have a car that can give 60-70 mpg and another that can only give 15-20 mpg then they will be able to meet the regulation. They can make cars like the Audi A1 and Mercedes Benz A class, knowing no one will buy them and that they will be complete busts but will help them reach that 35.5 average mpg rating.
If you pay attention to the types of engines in high performance cars, you’ll notice that the V8 is on its way out. The V8 engine requires a lot of gas to run and in order to bump up the mpg rating of high performance cars, some companies like BMW have been swapping V8 engines with turbocharged V6’s which offer close to or even better power. However, some people, like me don’t entertain the idea of putting smaller engines in place of V8’s, especially when it’s part of a cars tradition. Cars such as the Mustang GT have the V8 engine written into its DNA, so by swapping it with a V6, you totally ruin the essence of the car. Thankfully there are no plans to swap the engines of the Mustang GT…yet. All and all, I think that the regulations the government has put on the automakers to produce higher mpg rating cars is a good first step towards a cleaner, more energy efficient world. However, I believe it will be quite some time before Americans make the full switch from low mpg rating cars to high mpg rating or fully electric cars.


Electric Cars


Chevy Volt

     With the price of gas being at an all time high, you might assume that electric cars are selling like hotcakes. Well guess what, they’re not. In fact, they’re selling pretty badly. Chances are you have crossed paths with an electric or hybrid car at some point and are probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Don’t worry, I’ll clear up all the misconceptions and myths as well reveal what the government and automakers are hiding from you, the consumer.
Technically, electric cars have been produced since the late 1800’s, but this is not a history lesson, and rather a look into the future of cars. Since then, there have been many different types of “electric” cars. For instance there are neighborhood electric vehicles, which are small, low speed vehicles (25 mph tops) optimal for city use, pure electric vehicles which are run on purely electric, and must be charged for 8-9 hours for every 100 miles driven, and plug-in hybrid vehicles which use electric and a combustion engine to drive the wheels, meaning it has some fuel in it. In 1996, General Motors released the EV1, the first mass-produced electric vehicle of the modern era from any major automaker. After a three year run, GM pulled the plug on the EV1 because it “wasn’t selling” in America. According to legend, money hungry oil companies paid off GM to discontinue the car, so that they could continue to make money. Not long before pulling the plug, GM produced a new more efficient battery for the car, so why on earth would they discontinue it? I’ll tell you why. It’s not about saving mother earth; it’s about making money that’s most essential for these corporate pricks.
Enter the new millennium and there is an influx of hybrid and electric cars all over the world. In 2003 a hybrid car, the Toyota Prius was sold in the United States. It caught on quickly has sold over 1 million cars to date. The price tag wasn’t bad either for a car that would save you tons on gas at roughly $25,000. In 2010, the electric cars, Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt were released in the United States. The Nissan Leaf runs on 100% electric whereas the Volt requires a small amount of gas to operate the car in case the electric power runs out. The price tag on these cars is nearly $40,000, which is A LOT of money for a compact car with little luxuries. Due to this, it both have only sold around 1,000 units each. However, not all electric cars are compact family cars. Tesla motors is a Silicon Valley based company that specializes in all electric sports cars, and is one that is really catching my eye. Tesla cars tend to fetch over $100,000 but they are efficient, unique, and stylish. These cars can also put up great numbers in the 0-60 range and ¼ mile, proving that electric cars don’t need to sacrifice speed or looks in order to be efficient. I see this company as a big player in the future of electric sports cars.
One thing I can’t help but notice these days is that every car has a hybrid version. I mean I’ve seen hybrid S-class Mercedes, Cadillac Escalades, and 7-series BMW’s all around the city. These already high priced cars become ridiculously priced as hybrid versions and what good do they really do for the environment? I mean, yes you are probably picking up some mpg but in regards to emissions, these cars are big time culprits in being gas guzzlers and releasing heavy emissions. In the end, a hybrid version of a car does carry benefits for the earth but I would much rather purchase a more ecologically efficient car if I were that hell-bent on saving mother earth.
Although electric cars are not selling well, I believe that they are the future of cars in the automobile industry. Scientists believe that we only have about 50 years before the world is sucked dry of oil. When that happens…we will have no other choice but to turn to a different form of fuel. It’s great that these companies are thinking ahead and developing alternative fuel sources now, so that when the oil runs out, we will already be on a different fuel source. Hopefully this new fuel source does not deplete us of cars that are exhilarating and fun to drive.

*For the electric haters. Samuel Martz comment sums it up.



American Muscle

I’ll tell you flat out, I love my country. With all the freedoms and opportunities given to us, there’s little for one to complain about. Millions of people across the globe would love to be in our shoes, rich or poor, due to our great lifestyle and way of being. We are very privileged to live in this country and those fighting overseas to keep it this way deserve the utmost respect. With my American pride, comes my love for American cars. Yeah, I’m a city guy with a southerners taste in cars. Most people in New York City tend to buy status symbol cars like Mercedes Benz, BMW, and Lexus. However, I love American muscle cars like the Ford Mustang, the Chevy Camaro, Chevelle, and Corvette, the Dodge Charger and Challenger, and the Pontiac Trans Am. These cars are moderately rare in the northeast but as one ventures south or into rural land, more are sure to show up. The difference between status symbol cars and American muscle cars is that status symbol cars are for suit and tie guys on Wall Street and muscle cars are for real men with an edge, who actually want to enjoy life.

So how can you spot an American muscle car? Well for one you’ll probably hear it coming, at least a block away. The deep, raspy growl is a trademark of American cars, and one of the first things your senses will pick up. After you’ve heard this growl, give it a second or two to appear in your mirror. Looks evil doesn’t it? Most muscle cars such as the Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger have stripe options for the car, to make it look even more menacing. These stripes really make the car stand out, as well as other accessories such as hood scoops, side scoops, and window louvers. Now look back into your mirror. Where did it go? You hear an ominous growl getting louder and louder. A second later you see it dart out in front of you like a bat out of hell. You sigh and wonder why you paid $80,000 for a bland and boring car when the guy who just rushed by you paid half the price for a car that packs a serious punch.

Amongst the muscle cars is another faction, called the pony cars. These cars are the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro, and Dodge Challenger, the Ford Mustang being my favorite. Anyway, the stats on these cars are truly remarkable, especially for the price. A base 2011 Ford Mustang GT will run you about $32,000 and boasts 412 horsepower giving it a 0-60 time of about 4.4 seconds. This car will go neck and neck with a BMW M3, which is a very respectable car, and even edge it out with the right driver behind the wheel. A base Camaro SS will run you about the same price as the Mustang, give you a little more horsepower, but will be slightly slower than the Mustang GT. A Dodge Challenger SRT8 will cost you about $10,000 more than the Mustang and Camaro, provide you with 470 horsepower and run a 0-60 time in the high 4’s. However, in my opinion this car looks the most classic and badass out of the three, truly sticking to its roots. Although there are more expensive high performance American cars, these cars are for enthusiasts who come from average to modest means.

I truly believe that right now is a pivotal time, which marks the rebirth of American cars. Right now, Japanese automakers are reeling from constant recalls, with hindering sales and discontent consumers. People are no longer counting on Japanese automakers to provide them with reliable cars and proof of this can be seen if you look at Japanese car sales. The new Ford Focus and Chevy Cruze are selling in such high volumes that the factories cannot keep up. In addition, the Mitsubishi Evolution, which is one of the top Japanese performance cars, has been canceled for the next two years so that Mitsubishi can research all electric performance cars. The Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro, and Dodge Challenger are all doing so well that the old muscle car rivalry of the 60’s and 70’s is coming back to fruition, with the victor not being crowned king of America but rather king of the world. This is the dawn of the new era of cars, those which are sporty, reliable, cheap, and all American.

Live Your Life As You See Fit

My name is Billy Frawley. I am a 19 year old junior at Queens College, majoring in biology. I enjoy playing baseball, meeting new people, having interesting conversations, and shopping for clothes. My favorite shows on television include South Park, Curb Your Enthusiasm, True Blood, Cops, Dexter, and Game of Thrones. I enjoy shows that are comedic in nature and require you to think. I also like fictitious shows such as True Blood because they have to do with interesting things like vampires, witches, and other mythological creatures. My passions in life are practicing Krav Maga, which is an Israeli self defense system and driving cars, preferably high performance sport cars as well as Formula 1 cars. I consider myself an adrenaline freak and I am always ready to try something new which is fun or exciting. In the near future I want to work as a police officer for Suffolk or Nassau county because I love meeting and working with new people. I also believe that I have the skills needed to perform the job as well as being able to think straight in stressful situations.
I believe that life should not be taken as seriously as most people think. I believe that since we only live once, for roughly 80 years, half of them being considered “the golden years”, that we should cherish every waking moment. We should enjoy life in the way we see fit and not the way that the media, magazines, and other people say it should be lived. Most people want to become doctors, lawyers, and other prestigious professions so that their parents would be “happier” with them. However, the real reason is so that their parents can boast about how much money their child makes and how “smart” they are. I believe that just because someone is rich and driving down the street in a Mercedes, does not necessarily mean that they are content with themselves nor are they more attractive to people. I believe that it is imperative that all people find a passion that truly makes them happy and that they follow through with it because in the end it is what shapes your life and makes you, you. One of the most attractive things about a person is when they have a purpose or direction in life and are striving to make it happen. A few months ago, someone asked me “How do you live life?” I responded saying, “I live in my own reality.”
Although this may seem counter intuitive, the topic that I will be blogging about is cars due to the fact that I have a decent amount of knowledge about the subject. I have a constant stream of car information because I have subscriptions to nearly every car magazine out there. I’m writing about this topic in order to inform others of cars that are good values or upcoming cars that I believe will be top sellers. There’s no need for someone to buy a car for over $100,000, when a $40,000 car is just as quick. In addition, with a few, cheap modifications a moderately priced sports car will blow away an exotic car. I believe that people these days just buy cars based on the company name, however the quality and look of cars changes drastically from generation to generation, meaning a new model may or may not be as good as the prior. For example, many people believe that if you have a Mercedes Benz, you automatically have one of the most luxurious and fast cars on the road. The fact of the matter is, unless you dish out serious cash for an AMG line Benz, you really aren’t getting that much of a bargain, compared to what else is out there, as well as not having a quick car. The thing I love most about cars is that the bar is constantly being raised and that no automaker always on top. If an automaker fails to increase quality, thinking that they can keep selling the same exact model without refining anything, they are sure to be overcome by the other automakers.


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