Editorial: The Future Of Cars

 

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Back when I first started RawAutos.com, it was just supposed to be my personal automotive columns/editorials. And while I’ve gotten away from that, I still love doing it.

My first blog I ever wrote and posted was about Aston Martin being the next Porsche. Now that can certainly be debated, but you can’t debate the simple fact that Aston is making some of the most beautiful and artistic automobiles. Ever.

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I don’t think that I have to tell you that we’re living in weird and uncertain automotive times. In fact, my father and I were talking about that not too long ago. He, as well as some friends, are trying to get me to either sell or trade-in my 2008 Bullitt Mustang. Psh, yeah right! In roughly a year and a half of ownership, I have roughly 30,000 miles on the young gal, and I’ll put many more miles on it for years to come. But the point of my original statement was that my father and I were talking about me keeping my car for 20 or 30 years. He said that it would take roughly that amount of time for it to become an actual classic that’s worth the money I payed for her. While this is most likely true, I’m willing to wait. But he also said something that made me ponder the future. He said, “In 20 or 30 years, you won’t be able to use the Bullitt, because there won’t be that many gasoline stations any longer.” And I simply said that I’d buy my petrol online.

So could this be true? Are we heading into an all-new life in America where gas is hard to find?

I say yes and no. While I believe that gas stations will get fewer and farther apart, partly because of hybrid, electric and other alternative energy fuels. I do believe, however, gasoline will be banished to the far end of filling stations. Kind of like how truckers have to pull to that area all the way in the back, or some other random area, in order to get diesel fuel.

Is it a bad thing? Absolutely not. I’m all in favor for alternative fuels being used, as long as they’re actually productive and make cars safer for the environment. And I don’t just mean by the amount of pollutants that come out of the tail pipes. I also mean the batteries, precious and rare materials that they’re made of, and all of the other components. But, I don’t want to not be able to drive my gasoline powered car. And I sure won’t be pressured into buying a hybrid or full-electric car to replace my car. I’d buy one to accompany my gas powered cars, but never to take the place of. There are still too many good years left in the gasoline powered automobile, especially with the DFI (direct-fuel injection), charged motors (turbo and supercharged), twin-cam setups and other engine technologies, along with new and better aerodynamics that are being used to maximize the effectiveness of your fuel.

Let’s put it this way; there are 121,466 filling stations in the United States according to a 2002 Census report. As of right now there are 309,056,111 people in America (as of time publishing. Add roughly 47 people for every 10 minutes). That makes 2,544 people per gas station. But upon review and calculations from the U.S. Department of Energy, there are only 6,536 alternative fuel filling stations in America. If we’re hoping to have CAFE standards met to such high standards, we need to start getting alternative filling stations to go along with the cars. If we’re going to meet the U.S. required 35 average mpg for passenger cars by 2020, I think we need to have just a few more alternative fuel filling stations around…

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But most importantly, we need to do more to get people into the right kinds of alternative fuel vehicles. Hybrids, folks, aren’t the answer. I hate to break it to you. As much as so many people love them, they get around the same mileage as a diesel car. Diesels can also produce roughly the same amount of C02 emissions as a hybrid car. Think about the car pictured above, the VW Jetta TDI Cup Street Edition. It’s a diesel with sports car like performance qualities. It comes with a manual transmission, great fuel economy, but even better, it doesn’t mean you have to compromise when looking for something that’s good for the environment, your wallet, yet still fun to drive.

So what will this all mean to the enthusiast driver like yourself? Hopefully nothing. With cars like the Tesla Roadster, it shows that there are at least a few people out there thinking about the thrill of the drive while working on cleaner cars. Whether you like the Tesla or not, you can’t argue that it’s not a fast and fun for an electric car. But let’s add a twist to this article; what happened to the flying cars that we were told about decades ago?! What happened to Doc Brown not needing roads where we’re going?

Seriously, though, maybe if the automotive corporations, along with the many of the members in the government would take their heads of their, er, get their heads in the game, I mean, maybe we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

I do also have to say one thing, while I’m a BMW fanatic, I love what Volkswagen and BMW both have been doing when it comes to diesel powered automobiles, but also BMW with its electric technology. Sure, maybe it’s not the smartest thing right now, but I’ve driven the Mini-E, and will be driving the ActiveE Concept 1-Series coming up soon. I’m impressed with the levels of dedication to try and produce something smart, but still fun and fantastic. They’re no where near as affordable as a Prius, but thank God I can at least drive them like I stole ’em when the time permits.

Until the next time we speak again, “Happy Motoring”.

[Shell gas station photo taken from: The Fun Times Guide]

[Photo taken from: The Fun Times Guide]

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I'm a car, music, and Howard Stern aficionado. I also love planes, trains, anything to do with science and engineering, as well as politics. I'm working on my screenplays, TV shows, and a book or two. Stay tuned to when I'm really famous and even more awesome.

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