Thirst come, thirst served

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles wrote a big check to the Feds for not quite meeting 2016 fuel-economy standards, and they shrug:

Shane Karr, head of external affairs for Fiat Chrysler in North America, confirmed the company’s $77-million penance with Reuters. Karr is one of the few automotive spokespeople willing to openly endorse a rollback. He told the outlet that the government’s fuel economy program should be reformed, thus ending the practice of automakers making “large compliance payments because assumptions made in 2011 turned out to be wrong.”

However, Karr also noted FCA remains “committed to improving the fuel efficiency of our fleet and expanding our U.S. manufacturing footprint.”

It’s not difficult to understand why Fiat Chrysler incurred the fines. While Fiat offers fuel-sipping options, the same cannot be said of the firm’s more American nameplates. Most of Dodge’s lineup doesn’t even come with an available four-cylinder, since the brand cut loose many of its smaller and less profitable models several years ago. In fact, Dodge frequently frames its surplus of powerful V8 engines as an important selling point.

One of Dodge’s Hellcats breathed into my ear on the way up Interstate 35 yesterday. It was incredibly loud, and it’s difficult to imagine how the driver could be talked into a hybrid: give it a big enough battery, and it will be just as quick, but there is apparently no joy in dead silence.

9 comments »

  1. fillyjonk »

    12 February 2019 · 3:47 pm

    What about a recording to be played in the car’s cockpit of someone going “RMMM rmmmmm rmmmmm rmmmmm rmmmm” or similar engine noises?

    I dunno but to me quieter cars seem like the OPPOSITE of a problem.

    Though I have heard of some calling for some kind of noisemaker on the outside of hybrids, presumably so pedestrians focusing on their cell phones will hear it coming and not get hit.

  2. CGHill »

    12 February 2019 · 3:51 pm

    There exist models that do in fact duct some engine noise into the cockpit. I don’t think I could stand that for too awfully long.

  3. Alex »

    12 February 2019 · 4:12 pm

    Hey Chaz,

    I hate to be the guy who leaves a comment on a post, but it seems as if all my emails to you are getting sent to spam… gosh I hate the interweb sometime!

    Anyway, do you mind shooting me an email so we can correspond?

  4. McGehee »

    12 February 2019 · 4:57 pm

    I’d go for something like the old trick of clothespinning a playing card so it would rattle against the bicycle spokes as you ride. Obviously the card-analog would have to be more durable, since it would almost certainly be designed and installed in such a way that the owner couldn’t possibly service the thing himself.

  5. fillyjonk »

    12 February 2019 · 6:38 pm

    “OEM spoke-cards.”

    I was gonna suggest clipping the owner’s credit card in place, but I am not sure the automakers could sufficiently monetize that, unless there was some kind of doohickey that made small, incremental charges on the card with each revolution of the wheel.

  6. John Salmon »

    12 February 2019 · 9:03 pm

    Consumers refuse to buy the cars (vehicles) bloodless technocrats would force them into.

  7. The Other McCain »

    13 February 2019 · 7:52 am

    In The Mailbox: 02.12.19

    […] Dustbury: Thirst Come, Thirst Served […]

  8. hollyh »

    13 February 2019 · 12:01 pm

    The first time I turned the ignition key, in my Ford Hybrid C-Max, I summoned the car salesman over and asked him why it didn’t start? Since then, I have embraced the silence with great joy. You are right, fj, it is the OPPOSITE of a problem that needs to be solved.

  9. CGHill »

    13 February 2019 · 6:26 pm

    It’s not easy to adjust to a different set of sounds. My little Mazda (#2) was long on charm but seriously short on quietness; her replacement seemed so unnervingly silent that one day at the gas station I tried to start it up — after having already started it up. Noises of no charm at all followed.

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