Episode 611 – Obama’s Oily Intervention, Buick-Badged Ampera, Kia Naimo Concept

March 31st, 2011 at 11:34am

Runtime 7:38

Yesterday President Obama called for the United States to reduce its dependence on oil – a goal every president since Nixon has stated – we’ll see how it goes this time around.  Buick is working on a rebadged version of the Opel Ampera.  Chevrolet teases the upcoming 2013 Malibu.  All that and more, plus we take a look at a technology called near-field communication that supplier company Visteon has found a variety of automotive uses for.

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This is Autoline Daily for the last day in March, 2011. And now, the news.

AN OILY INTERVENTION
Yesterday President Obama called for the United States to reduce its dependence on oil. Of course, that’s the same goal set by presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II. And every time the U.S. says it has to get off oil, Americans just use more of it. I once met an expert in the oil industry who told me that the United States does have an energy policy and it goes like this: “We don’t want you to use oil, but we’re going to do everything we can to make sure it’s as cheap and plentiful as possible.” As every economist knows, if you want people to use less of something, raise the price. A tax on oil phased in over time would produce miracles. I would make it a tax on OPEC oil. The U.S. imports roughly half the oil it uses. And half those imports come from OPEC. In other words, if the U.S. could reduce its oil consumption by 25 percent, or even boost production by 25 percent we could kiss OPEC goodbye.

BUICK’S VOLT
One way to reduce oil consumption is by driving electric cars. Now Bloomberg reports that General Motors is developing a Buick using the same platform as the Chevy Volt.  According to their sources, designers and engineers are grafting a Buick front-end on the Opel Ampera.  If the car gets approved by management it’s expected to go on sale sometime in 2013.  One big challenge is making the Buick model more luxurious than the Volt. But if the car is only getting a new front-end it sure sounds like GM is going back to the bad old days of badge engineering.

FINDING NAIMO
Speaking of EVs, Kia unveiled an electric concept car at the Seoul Motor Show. Called the Naimo, it’s a B-segment car with a number of unique features. The wraparound windshield doesn’t have a wiper blade, instead it uses a high-intensity air jet at the base of the windshield that performs what Kia calls an ‘air wiper’ function. The rear-view mirrors are replaced with cameras installed in the A-pillars. To make getting in and out easier, the B-pillar was eliminated and the doors open suicide style. Powering the Naimo is an electric motor that’s mated to a 27 kWh lithium-ion battery. It’s got a range of 200 kilometers which is about 124 miles.

“SPECTACULAR FAILURES” (subscription required)
Despite all this activity with electric cars, Ward’s reports that most EV startups are in a financially precarious position. Even more telling, in the next year or so there will be 70 electric cars and plug-ins hitting the market. It quotes Mickey Bly, who’s in charge of electric cars and hybrids at General Motors as saying there will be spectacular failures amongst EV companies this year. Even so, J.D. Power sees the market for electric cars growing. It predicts there will be annual sales in the U.S. of 100,000 units in 2020; Europe will see sales of 742,000; China 332,000 and Japan 100,000. That would put global sales at 1.3 million electric cars a year, which sounds impressive until you realize that’s less than 2 percent of all car sales.

CHEVY TEASES NEXT-GEN MALIBU
Chevy showed a sneak peek of the all new 2013 Malibu. Not many details were announced, and all we get is this happy snap of a tail light. Showing how important this car is globally for Chevy, the new Malibu will actually debut at the Shanghai Auto Show. But it will also be revealed on Chevy’s Facebook page, coinciding with the reveal in Shanghai. People can post questions during the reveal on Facebook or Twitter and they will be answered by members from Chevy during a live Q&A session.

IT’S THE POWER OF LOVE SOUND
If you’ve spent more than five minutes in the driver’s seat you’ve heard someone with a big subwoofer in their car.  But did you know that “boom, boom, boom” can be used for more than just annoying other motorists?  We found this clip on Autoblog.  A guy outfitted his 2001 Chevy Tahoe with a crazy sound system.  Just how insane?  Well, it takes 10 batteries and three alternators to power it!  It features four 18-inch subwoofers, 13 amps and a host of other speakers.  Altogether it’s enough juice to LITERALLY shred a phonebook!  Turn on the ‘woofers and watch the tornado!  I wonder how this guy’s not deaf.

Coming up next, a look at new technology that will help you find your car keys.

FORGET ME NOT
Are you like me? Do you often misplace your car keys? For those of us that do, Visteon has a solution.

For those of you that don’t know, NFC stands for near-field communication, which is a term used to describe short-range wireless technology. Visteon’s system also allows you to do things remotely like starting the car, setting the temperature or other functions. And it can locate your car and tell you where you parked. Now all I’ve got to do is remember to keep my phone charged.

Don’t forget to tune in to Autoline After Hours tonight, when our guest will be Joel Piaskowski, who heads up all exterior design for Ford in the Americas. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, for the best insider information on what’s going on in the auto industry. And Mark Phelan from the Detroit Free Press will also be stopping by. That’s tonight, on Autoline After Hours.

And that’s today’s report on the top news in the global auto industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

40 Comments to “Episode 611 – Obama’s Oily Intervention, Buick-Badged Ampera, Kia Naimo Concept”

  1. dcars Says:

    What makes the Ampera different from the Volt? I think GM made a mistake in making the Volt a Chevy. I know I’m an arm chair quarterback, but the price is to high for chevy; it problly would have been a better Buick. I think John mentioned that they should consider reducing the battery pack capacity for a 40 mile range and getting the price down.

  2. Tony Gray Says:

    Badge engineering back at GM? LT Dan is well on his way!

  3. dcars Says:

    Oil is more costly than the price per gallon. The US government is spending billions on military interventions to protect oil supplies.

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve thought for a long time that gas tax should be increased. That’s why I voted for John Anderson for president in 1980. His proposal to raise gas tax didn’t go over well with most people, and he got only 6% of the popular vote.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I recently heard that the “real” cost of gas is about $13-15/gallon, when you include the cost of military interventions, etc.

  6. bob Says:

    McElroy is absolutely correct, that if you want to lower the use of anything, including gas, you just have to raise the price. Anybody who disagrees with this common sense basic result from econs is a clueless econ illiterate, and if he or she is also a politician, he or she is also a COWARD.

    So, spare us the BULLSHIT, you corrupt, dumb politicians. Admit that you never had the GUTS to do what is RIGHT, impose a HUGE tax on gas.

    The above would be great in a PERFECT world, but our world is NOT perfect, and we KNOW that if the corrupt politicians lay their hands on these additional Tax Revenues, they will SQUANDER AND WASTE them.

    This is the reason why, while I was ALWAYS for a HUGE tax on gas, I ALWAYS Simultaneously wanted that tax $ to be either used to pay down the national debt, AND/OR RETURNED to the taxpayers as an EQUAL CUT in Income or other taxes.

  7. bob Says:

    I also agree with John’s proposal to tax imported oil. Since OPEC already taxes its oil exports (the infamous “Royalties”), we already do not have a free market, so why shouldn’t we tax the imported OPEC Oil. AGAIN, as long as the tax revenue does NOT go to the crook’s hands in DC but it is PROTECTED and used to pay doen our debt or as a tax cut.

  8. Chuck Grenci Says:

    John, I know you were ‘tongue in cheek’ with your review of that painfully loud audio system but your description missed the mark; you can be tone-deaf and still hear everything (just won’t be able to discern different pitches), what that guy is going to be is just plain deaf (from too many decibels).

  9. Joe Phillippi Says:

    Perhaps our esteemed Nobel Laureate, B Hussein Obama should hae consulted J. D. Power before again calling for 1 million electric cars on the US motorways by 2015. He once again displayed his complete ignorance of how the real economy works.

  10. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The new Malibu looks enticing (though obviously too early) to make any definitive evaluations. I’ve heard that the new Malibu will be a ‘world’ model for 19 different markets, so Chevy needs to get this right. More info. April 18th; I’ll be watching.

  11. HtG Says:

    Not every foreign oil producer is a member of OPEC. Like Indonesia, Gabon, Norway, or Canada. Here’s the list…

    http://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/about_us/25.htm

    We’re also pretty much allied with the Saudis, who have the greatest power in the cartel because they get petroleum out of the ground cheap. If we whacked them or other members of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council)where would they invest their worthless petrodollars? Lookin’ at you Citi.

    Personally, I limit my driving and bought a Civic a decade ago partly because of all the issues we have now. And I can’t see a national politician tossing their career away; voters get so angry about this tax and liberty stuff.

  12. Steve Says:

    “In other words, if the U.S. could reduce its oil consumption by 25 percent, or even boost production by 25 percent we could kiss OPEC goodbye.”
    Yeah, stack crap in one hand, hope in the other, then let me know which one fills up first.

  13. M.J.B. Says:

    That “Air Wiper” function on the Kia Naimo concept was sounding pretty innovative. But I got to thinking.

    Hmmmmmm…

    I guess Japanese birds don’t poop on windshields.

  14. bob Says:

    Htg: We are quite aware, but it does not really matter, we pay the same price for oil from Canada or OPEC. Gabon and some of the other places you mention produce miniscule quantities, and even Mexico produces much less than it used to.

  15. HtG Says:

    I was suggesting the political issues that would arise if only OPEC were taxed. I just wonder what’s behind John’s suggestion; I assume he’s thought it out.

  16. bob Says:

    Our oil imports and oil consumption has gone down by a HUGE amount ALREADY, since its peak in 2007. The recession and the oil spike helped, and the higher mpg fleet will also help. The recovery may increase it a little bit, as will eventually the increase in US population by at least 3 million each year, BUT among all oil consumers in the world, the US is the one with the BIGGEST Belt-tightening potential, and this tightening has already started, by a HUGE amount (more than a million barrels A DAY)

    The biggest oilfield in the world is right UNDER DETROIT. ( I assume you all got this)

  17. bob Says:

    “HtG Says:
    March 31st, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I was suggesting the political issues that would arise if only OPEC were taxed.”

    Besides the political issues, the higher the taxs on imported oil or OPEC oil, the higher the temptation will be to import bootleg oil!

  18. bob Says:

    I have not replied to a week’s worth of posts here, some of which were addressed to me (and some were obviously written by new faces that have no clue what I drive).

    I was intrigued by some guy named Mike who claimed that the Miata was a “failure”. In what sense??? It has been on sale for more than 20 years, since 1990. FEW models last that long. ALSO, its sales numbers were far bigger than anything in its class. In what sense then is it a failure? One suggested it is a chick car. SO what? Women like small lightweight fun vehicles, plus many men would not fit in the Miata comfortably, its first versions were quite tight for anybody over 6′.

    Mazda copied the Brit Roadster quite successfully and made it much more reliable in the Miata. SO what the hell was that Mike talking about?

  19. HtG Says:

    bob, I was the one that teased ‘Mike’ about his Miata remark, asking if he thought it was a chick car. As a Miata owner, may I affirm that it is indeed a chick car? You should see some gals twist around to look at it. And yes, it’s a tight fit for me at 5’10″.

  20. diffrunt Says:

    How much tax in $8 eurogas?

    rebadging has never faded because of the commonality of platforms & drivelines.

    The Kia Naimo concepts are exciting & long overdue, especially the demise of rearview mirrors

  21. bob Says:

    Last week, I must have royally pissed off some Lexus-Toyota fans by referring to the Lexus LS460 as the Buick LS460. Too bad I cannot claim credit for coining this, it is quite true.

    I have driven both the original LS400 (very poor handling and driving feel, and a moderate interior) and the LS430 that followed (a much better interior but the same Buick ride and handling). Lexus recognized its Achilles heel in this and is offering the current LS460 with a “sports” version, but it will cost you $6-7k extra and it will still be no 7 Series.

    As far as the Lexus best-seller, the ES 350, that’s the Camry-Buick ES350, and even consumer reports called this fraud, you could get the same vehicle w/o the “Lexus” badge for $5-10k less if you got a loaded Camry. BUT why do that, get a loaded ACCORD V6 instead, and start enjoying life, or at least Driving! And I DID drive the ES 350, its interior is not that of a pure luxury car, but instead combines luxury elements such as a few pieces of wood, with the rest of it being a sea of plastic.

    Finally, TJ Martin praised the virtues of the IS Lexus, the 3 series wannaby. The Automotiver landscape is full of carcasses of BMW 3 series wannabes. The 3, which I do not particularly like, (except for the outstanding 335 DIESEL with its 400 lbft torque AND 36 MPG EPA HWY(!!!) has been a HUGE, HUGE sales success, and the IS a dismal failure.

  22. bob Says:

    (the above just from the FACTS (sales numbers for the 3 and the IS or any other 3 series wannabes. Look them up.)

    SALES are due out tomorrow for MArch.

    The Japan mess will sure affect the numbers, and will continue to affect them in April, May and June.

    VW should be a big beneficiary as well as the DOmestics and Hyundai to the extent they do not depend on parts from Japan. Lucky for the new FOcus, there will be not many Civics or Corollas to fight with it.

    As far as the Siesta-Fiasco, somebody commented the other time that no cars in this segm,ent do not sell well, and John Mclroy called the Fiesta the top seller in this lame category, with the Fit having even less sales. HOWEVER, this is NOT Correct,

    the NISSAN VERSA, (a Renault Clio clone), thanks to its much bigger interior than either the Fit or the Fiesta or the Yaris, AND thanks to stripped versions of it selling for less than $10k fro years, has been selling almost TWICE the number of units the Fiesta sells so far every month.

    (I am not fan of many Nissans, but had to mention this)

  23. len simpson Says:

    On average, 60 percent of the price European drivers pay at the pump goes to their governments in taxes.

    In Britain, the government takes 75 percent, and raises taxes by 5 percent above inflation every year (though it has forgone this year’s rise in view of rocketing oil prices, and the French government has promised tax rebates this year to taxi drivers, truckers, fishermen, and others who depend heavily on gasoline.) On August 8, for example, the price of gas in the US, without taxes, would be $2.17, instead of $2.56; in Britain, it would be $1.97, instead of $6.06

  24. M.J.B. Says:

    @Bob #21.

    Quote: “Lexus recognized its Achilles heel in this and is offering the current LS460 with a “sports” version, but it will cost you $6-7k extra and it will still be no 7 Series.”

    For the record, Bob, the LS460 (nor any of the LS series sedans) has never ‘tried’ to be a 7 series. The appeal of the LS has never been, nor never will be, the ultra performance, be-one-with-the-pavement, ‘snap your neck off when cornering’ driving experience that BMWs are meant to be. They’ve done an excellent job with that segment. No one can really touch them.

    So when driving a Lexus, if one equates the lack of stiff suspension, fork-lift handling and general haptic feedback telegraphed through the steering wheel, then one will miss the point of driving a Lexus.

    Lexus is not trying to be another BMW. They don’t need to. If they wanted to build vaguely reliable cars that needed perpetual unscheduled maintenance visits to the stealership after they hit the 100k mi mark, then I’m sure sure they could find a way to lower the bar on quality and long-term reliability so that BMW might finally clear that hurdle for once.

  25. bob Says:

    “# dcars Says:
    March 31st, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Oil is more costly than the price per gallon. The US government is spending billions on military interventions to protect oil supplies.

    Yes. And if you also include the environmental cost (pollution etc) it is probably double or triple what we pay at the pump.

    # Kit Gerhart Says:”

    I’ve thought for a long time that gas tax should be increased. That’s why I voted for John Anderson for president in 1980. His proposal to raise gas tax didn’t go over well with most people, and he got only 6% of the popular vote.”

    Even without his tax proposal, no third party candidate has won in well over 100 years.

    # Kit Gerhart Says:
    March 31st, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I recently heard that the “real” cost of gas is about $13-15/gallon, when you include the cost of military interventions, etc.

    That looks way too high, they probably allocated to gas the entire cost of these interventions.

  26. HtG Says:

    I’ve driven IS. At a Lexus sponsored event we were able to drive the IS-F on a track. I found the interior of the car to be super. The suspension set up wasn’t very hard, but if you got into trouble(on purpose in my case)the vehicle dynamic program subtly saved you. If you floored the gas, the engine on the F was transformed into a monster. We were taken for hot laps with a pro driver just gunning the car. Very nice. Driving the IS 350 and 250 on an autocross for time, I thought it did exactly what I wanted and expected(must remember not to brake so late). It was well balanced at the limit.

    I’ve also been taken on a terror ride in an M3. The two cars are comparable, with the Bimmer creating more of a feeling of fun. Strange.

  27. bob Says:

    MJB:

    I know Lexus did not try to be another BMW. They blatantly copied MERCEDES instead, BUT also, in their effort to please the typical American consumer, fitted it with a far poorer suspension than a MErcedes, and more similar to your average Land-barge Caddy or Lincoln of the past. Infiniti was the one who tried (and still does) to be a BMW wannabe.

    LEXUS is WAY overrated by many auto reviewers. The most blatant case was the recent rating of the Lexus LS460 Consumer Reports TESTZ DRIVE (NOT reliability!) with an almost perfect score of 99% (!!!!!), WHILE the SAME COnsumer reports article, if you read the detailed review, finds, as one would expect, many things that are far from perfect, including the bedroom on wheels ride and handling.

    As for your comment on the 7 series, it sure does not have a too stiff suspension, it is not a 3 series or an M5. BUT it is a total Decathlete, very good at everything it does, both outstanding handling AND excellent ride, and of course plentyt of luxury inside, com fort, and, above all, far more than adequate passive AND (important!) Active Safety!

    As I said before, I should be grateful to COnsumer Reports for their bashing of the 7 series reliability, they allowed me to buy my 7 series for PEANUTS back in 2005, a 7-yr 740iL with all the options, for 10% of what the much uglier 7 costs new today!

    And I have often stated that its reliability in the 6 years I have driven it has been OUTSTANDING, and better than the already very high reliability of my previous Accord coupe 5-speed.

    I belong in an email group called “The MAGNIFICENT 7″ Whose members all own BMW 7 series, most of which are much older than my 98! Some are 81s! When cars can last 30 years in the harsh snow and salt environment of Buffalo NY where this 81 is, it says a ton about their Longevity and Durability.

  28. XA351GT Says:

    So Bob are you going to pay the gas tax for me ?? I sure as hell can’t afford to pay anymore than I have to now without cutting out other essentials. There is only so much money to go around. It’s easy to say raise the tax and totally F*ck the little guy struggling as it is to stay above water.Go ahead smart guy when gas went up the last time the economy tanked . Yeah lets just completely screw up everything.

  29. M.J.B. Says:

    #27 Bob

    Yes, yes. But I think you’re missing my point that Lexus ‘wants’ to be a land yacht. they ‘want’ to have the most comfortable, cushy ride.

    And obviously, from the looks of their sales numbers, there are very many drivers who relish this characteristic.

    You compared it to the Caddys of old. And again I must point out thta those cars also sold well.

  30. tj Martin Says:

    Ohhh Boooob !

    ( sorry guys couldn’t resist a come back to Bob’s less than informed Lexus opinions )

    ” … the IS is a dismal failure .. ”

    Oh really Bob ? Haven’t had a peak at the recent sales figures have we Bob ? And genius it was the IS-F that i was comparing to the pretentious ( over the last decade ) M3 there Bob .

    Your pathetic and even less informed opinions about the 460LS . Well Bob if you’d taken the time to READ about the car you’d know its the Mercedes S – Class that the 460LS has been gunning for …. and oh by the way ……. in spite of Lexus NOT aiming at the BMW 7 series the 400 series of Lexus have been continually OUT SELLING both the M-B S Class as well as the BMW 7 series .

    Forcing both BMW and M-B back to the drawing board time and time again in order to keep up ( in a losing position I might add )

    Finally Bob . If you hadn’t realized this SMALL fact already BMW and M-B suspensions are set up for the perfectly smooth and flawless AutoBahns of Germany and NOT for the US ( or the UK ) roads .

    To quote Alois Ruf ( look him up ) when asked about Americans buying even Show Room Stock German cars , never mind his and other companies TUNED German cars he said ;

    ” I see no reason other than Ego and pretentiousness for Americans to even CONSIDER buying a German Performance or Luxury car as they ARE NOT at all suitable for the US ”

    Hmmmn Bob . Might want to take a minute to digest that .

    Once again you astound all here with your Ignorance and Lack of ability to Discern the Facts , never mind Digest them .

    Oh but I should give you a tad bit of credit . You were right ( for once ) about the ES350 .

    Ahhh but then again why buy a BMW X5 , X6 or the 5GT when all those are is OVER PRICED and excessively OVER Styled BMW 5 series . With all the SUV capabilities of a Hyundai Sonata !

    Forever Clueless Bob .

    Where is it you said you got your Degree from ?

    Whatsa Matta U ?

    Toodles

    PS; Ditto for me on XA’s post 28 . Even if I CAN afford it ! Get a clue . Not all your neighbors can !

  31. tj Martin Says:

    @ John M.

    In reply to your ” You Said It” column yesterday . re: Hyundai

    Since when does ;

    SALES NUMBERS = QUALITY ?

    If we’re to accept that definition of QUALITY I guess we’ll have to also say KISS and Michael Jackson wrote better Music than Bach or Debussy .

    Welcome to ” NO BROW ” gentlemen .

    Its an ALL pervasive CANCER affecting each and every aspect of our lives and society .

  32. GPL Says:

    “As far as the Siesta-Fiasco, somebody commented the other time that no cars in this segm,ent do not sell well, and John Mclroy called the Fiesta the top seller in this lame category, with the Fit having even less sales. HOWEVER, this is NOT Correct, the NISSAN VERSA, (a Renault Clio clone), thanks to its much bigger interior than either the Fit or the Fiesta or the Yaris, AND thanks to stripped versions of it selling for less than $10k fro years, has been selling almost TWICE the number of units the Fiesta sells so far every month.”

    I guess you are referring to me. I actually hadn’t even considered the Versa. It looks so much larger to me than the other subcompacts that I had actually assumed it was a compact. Perhaps I was wrong. Let’s take a look at the data.

    According to a quick look at Wikipedia (accuracy not verified), the Versa – as you point out, the best selling sub-compact – is not just larger on the inside, but also on the outside than its subcompact competitors. At 169.1 inches, the Versa HB is significantly longer than the Fiesta HB (160.1) and the Fit (157.4), 4-6 inches longer in wheelbase, and slightly wider than both, and the Versa sedan (176) is longer than the Fiesta sedan (173.6), and nearly as large as the outgoing Focus, so if it is a B-segment car, it is a large B-segment car.

    Even still, the Versa, at “TWICE the number of units the Fiesta sells”, is still outsold by seven larger, more expensive C-segment cars, including Nissan’s own Sentra. So, I think I’ll stick to my earlier statements that size is critical and comparisons of B-segment cars to C-segment cars is spurious.

  33. dcars Says:

    Oil has become a commodity that is getting scarce and difficult to obtain. We are smart to consider alternate ways to power our economies.

  34. dcars Says:

    I thought that the JD powers survey for reliability after three years spoke volumes about quality.

  35. SalvadorG. Says:

    AN OILY INTERVENTION- Yesterday President Obama called for the United States to reduce its dependence on oil.–

    Pum-pum pum… And Another One Bites the Dust.

    Tax OPEC, yeah lets be honest; not gonna happen, some of that money goes to good terrorist supporting nations.

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    Our local radio news station this morning played sound bites from every Pres. since Nixon stating the same BS about becoming independent from foreign oil. The masses also agree, yet it doesn’t happen!!

  37. Bob on Atlanta Says:

    If the US taxes OPEC oil, then the “science” of economics suggests the cost of petroleum products to US consumers would go up and US consumption would go down. Now, who gains? Every other country in the world, because with reduced US demand for OPEC oil the world price would drop. Red China says: “Thank you, Uncle Sam”. The government outlaws incandescent light bulbs (to reduce electric power consumption) and then subsidizes plug-in electric cars. The government subsidizes corn-based ethanol, and corn-based food costs more. The best thing the government could do is get out of the way – unfortunately, that is what the government does worst.

  38. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    If the US taxes OPEC oil, then economics suggests the cost of petroleum products to US consumers would go up and US consumption of oil would go down. Now, who gains? Every other country in the world gains, because with reduced US demand for OPEC oil the world price of oil would drop. Red China says: “Thank you, Uncle Sam.” The government outlaws incandescent light bulbs to reduce electric power consumption, and then subsidizes plug-in electric cars. The government subsidizes corn-based ethanol, and corn-based food costs more. The best thing the government could do is get out of the way – unfortunately, that is what the government does worst.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Part of why Consumer Reports likes the LS is that, unlike the S-Class and 7 Series, the Lexus has logical, intuitive controls. What a concept, easy to use controls in a machine that needs your whole attention for safe operation.

  40. dcars Says:

    Unless my info is bad US consumption of oil has gone down in the last five years, which is good.
    I would also suggest that our energy policy includes multiple fuel choices for cars they might include: Natural Gas, Hydrogen, Alcohol based Ethanol, methanol, cellulosic ethanol, Electricity and of Gasoline, bio-diesel and regular diesel.
    Being so dependent on single fuel source is not a good thing and causes issues.