SUVs in the USA are Dying

I’ve been wanting to write this for a long time. Please bare with me here.


That feels good to write. You should try it. One of the biggest symbols of waste, greed, ignorance, and arrogance is starting to fade away in the country that consume the most energy and pollution. It cannot be ignored that this is a direct result of the price of gas.

Toyota has announced that they are shifting their production plant that produces Highlanders to producing Prius cars. That’s right their factory making SUVs will now be making hybrids.

The company also announced that as of August 8, it will temporarily suspend the production of the Sequoia SUV and the Tundra pick-up — along with the production of the V8 engines that power them.

And it’s not alone. GM recently announced that it too is closing four truck plants and focusing on smaller cars for good, after total vehicle sales sank 18 percent in June. On top of that, it said it’s considering selling off its Hummer brand, whose future is hanging by a thin thread.
But GM wasn’t quite the worse performer in June. That honor belongs to Ford, which saw a drop in sales of 28 percent.

Meanwhile, US sales of the Toyota Prius took a giant hit of 26 percent in the month of June — after dealers ran short of inventory and customer waiting lists grew to six months from its soaring popularity.

Ferrari Plans to Build Hybrid Sports Car

Ferrari is planning on building a hybrid race car that will compete with its gas-guzzling cars. Other car manufactures are building (or going to build) hybrid cars, but the reason I post that Ferrari is shifting gears is because in my impression this is significant. When expensive race cars go green it truly means that the future could use less oil.

In a recent interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said that they are planning to reduce CO2 levels by 40% before 2012. They will make it possible thanks to a new hybrid technology and Ferrari might build cars powered by turbocharged V6 engines which are smaller and more fuel-efficient.

“We are currently working on the development of a Ferrari that will use alternative energy sources and which will be based on what we are doing at the moment in Formula 1″, he said. KERS or Kinetic Energy Recycling System is a technique based on the brake-energy-regeneration principle and it consists of a super-efficient CVT gearbox which uses a spinning flywheel to harness energy when the car brakes. This energy will be perfect to increase the acceleration needed when overtaking or cornering.

Germans Don’t Like Smog

Thanks to the BBCBerlin, Cologne, and Hanover have all decided to implement a neat way to make sure that their air is cleaner than other cities by using stickers. Drivers will have to buy stickers that denote how much pollution their cars emit and will be charge accordingly when driving in designated environmental zones. This is such a neat and simple idea.

Drivers now have to display a coloured sticker on their vehicle to enter the inner city zones. The colour depends on the pollutants the vehicle emits.

The cities are gradually phasing in fines of 40 euros (£29;$58) for anyone caught driving without a sticker.

Other German cities – but not all – plan to have such zones later in 2008.

The stickers – green, red or yellow – are mandatory not only for locals but also for foreign drivers, including tourists.

There is a one-off charge of five to 10 euros for the stickers, issued by Germany’s vehicle registration authority and authorised garages.

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