General Question

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

Why are we making such expensive fuel efficient cars?

Asked by xxporkxsodaxx (1386points) June 28th, 2008

The hydrogen fuel cell car by Honda, The FCX Clarity, costs “several hundred thousand dollars each to produce, though [Mr. Fukui] said that should drop below $100,000 in less than a decade as production volumes increase”. Now the whole world needs to drive cars like those, but considering the average American only makes $48,201 annually and we have the 3rd highest gross national income per capita, only the upper-middle class and higher will be able to afford such cars. That means only a little bit more than a quarter of all Americans will be expected to have enough money to buy one, buy that doesn’t mean they will. In fact it would be reasonable to say that only half of those people will actually buy one. We have the capability of building cars at cheap prices with up to 7,148 MPGs, but we only build cars that get up to 48 MPGs. Why would we waste time and money on cars that make us unhappy with costs of almost 4 dollars a gallon and higher just to operate? What do you some of you think of the subject, what are some of your theories of why we don’t use those cars(I have some but I don’t want to share them to give you ideas, or to change your own), what are some of your ideas of what will happen if we don’t find some better fuel?

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17 Answers

dingus108's avatar

Well, the large vehicle corporations want to make money and large fortunes off the mass hysteria of global warming and the middle east being the only fuel source we turn to, we as people are experiencing. This is just rediculous. Our fuel companies in America are just greedy and are taking advantage of us because they know, we as Americans will pay for gas no matter what the price. So, the car companies creating the hybrids find these issues to be great tools for marketing

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

Well if some rouge company got start up money and started making cars like that, keep in mind that it was someone from the public eye made the car that gets 7,148 MPGs, then sold them at 5K a piece, he would become a billionaire over night. That means you can spend less than 5 dollars and go 8 times farther on one gallon than the Prius on a full tank of gas. I would think that if the big vehicle companies want to make money, then they should build a car everyone can afford. It is like Bentley, they make cars for $400,000 but they don’t sell very many every year, but if they sold some cars for $5,000 then almost everyone in America could buy one, that’s $500,000,000,000.

Zaku's avatar

Link please to the 7,148 MPG cheap cars that can be made. Thanks.

Story I heard recently was about the latest GM hybrid design, expected to cost $50,000 to make at first and be sold at a loss initially at around $30,000, the battery costing over $10,000? Supposedly this may be GM’s last chance – the oil companies may be robbing everyone blind, but not necessarily the car manufacturers, no? Of course I’m sure it’s massively more complicated than all of this…

it is nearly 4am… why am I on Fluther now? Oh, whew, it’s only a lucid dream… right? ZZZzzz…

Upward's avatar

R&D on new technology cost money. Its too bad we didn’t finish what was started in the 70’s, when we had the gas shortage. If we were all driving non oil based cars now the World would be a different place.

edmartin101's avatar

R&D cost so much money is unbelievable, just imagine 1000 engineers doing R&D for a year to come up with new technology…that’s insane but is true. Only in fairy tales can someone make a reliable car worth driving for 5 Grand. I know India makes cars for $5000 but that tiny car fails all the safety standards in the USA, besides every time new technology appears, companies want to recuperate their R&D investment they have made.

Upward's avatar

What we need right now is a “Steve Jobs” of the auto industry to introduce a car with technology that replaces hands down all gas cars. Remember how the Macintosh changed the computer industry overnight?
Who knows maybe there is a iCar in our near future?

marinelife's avatar

There are a lot of options in between the imaginary rogue car company and the hydrogen car. Taking them while the technology is improved and the prices come down on the latter could make a huge difference to our wallets and the environment.

For example, the base model of the Toyota Prius is $21,500 (Touring $23,500) and it gets 48 MPG in town and 45 MPG highway. I have heard of them doing better than that too. The Honda Civic Hybrid is slightly less efficient (45 MPG Hwy; 40 MPG city) and slightly more expensive starting at $22,600. A Volkswagen Golf Diesel Hybrid is on the boards which gets better than 70 MPG. Speculation is the price will be between $26,000 and 36,000.

The ZAp Xebra, a small city car like the Smart car is size and styling, is all electric and will be priced at under $10,000. It will cost about 60 cents to recharge. The 4-wheel cars top out at 25 MPH while some three-wheel models can go to 40 mph. Here is a list of models available now and the price is cheap.

jlm11f's avatar

Money money money must be funny in the rich man’s world

charliecompany34's avatar

gotta make a buck somehow. pay a lot for the smaller car and reap the benefits of fewer visits to the gas station. it is the “you gotta spend money to make money” thing.

8lightminutesaway's avatar

“We have the capability of building cars at cheap prices with up to 7,148 MPGs”
um, can we have a link to that?

keep in mind fuel cell technology is still expensive to produce. and hydrogen combustion is very expensive too… its very difficult to store the amount of hydrogen you need for a car to go the distance todays cars do.

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

Sorry to keep you all waiting, I decided to sleep in today.

Here’s the link.

Knotmyday's avatar

As the elephant said to the naked man, “Cute, but can it pick up peanuts?”
Experimental vehicles are neato, but impractical. I need something that I can drive on a freeway, otherwise: Bicycle- the ultimate eco-transport system!

guesswho's avatar

Its all about money. Of course they can spend less time and Money making more fuel efficent vehicles, but they won’t because then they wouldn’t make as much money from fuel sales.
they already had a patent out for an engine that runs on water, but the oil companies bought the patent so that they could continue making money.
I think another term for that is greed

camouflage_pants's avatar

LOL @Knotmyday I am so stealing that joke.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Superior fuel economy is the result of research and development.

R&D always has a cost attached.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Own an electric car that practically drives itself?

Thank you no.

I drive the Integra (DC1) because it’s more rewarding as it’s still a mechanical device therefore more gratifying to operate.

It’s no different than a phonograph.

The extent of my car’s intruding electronic nannying is limited to anti lock brakes. There’s a honest mechanical connection between me and it via the controls.

I can also, like a high end turntable open in up and modify it, thus experiencing the satisfaction that comes with knowing that I improved it myself.

I’m aware that the world is filled with people that tolerate motoring but would rather be reading the paper while cruising the Interstate.

This isn’t to say that I’m opposed to hybrids. I respect those that improve performance:

The McLaren P1, the new Honda NSX, the Porsche 918 spyder.

Owning today’s electric and most hybrid cars is like enjoying a steak as long as one doesn’t have to be reminded of the messy way it got to your table.

Electrics and hybrids: the consumption is still there, the owner just doesn’t have to see it so much.

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