RE: Kyoto

From: Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Date: Fri Apr 20 2001 - 21:39:43 EDT

  • Next message: Jonathan Clarke: "Re: Kyoto"


    Lest we concentrate too much on cars, it's well to look at all our energy
    requirements. You have now been in the US for six months, you say. In
    another four months I would like to see your comments about the need for air
    conditioning in Chicago when the temperature and humidity reach triple digit
    numbers (temperature in Fahrenheit).

    Walk (don't drive!) to your closest supermarket and look at the produce
    section: none of those bananas, oranges, grapefruit, papayas are native to
    Illinois. How did they get there? How did you get to Chicago from Europe?
    Rowboat? I think not.

    I'm not, for a moment, suggest that we should not travel, that we should not
    fly across the Atlantic or the Pacific, or that we should do without air
    conditioning. What I do want to stress is that we are dealing with a very
    complex issue that hits us to the very core of our life style.

    Chuck Vandergraaf

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Bjoern Moeller []
    Sent: Friday April 20, 2001 7:25 PM
    Subject: Re: Kyoto

    --- "M.B.Roberts" <>
    > Take cars ; our hire car in the USA last summer only
    > did about 20 - 24 mpg - we had asked for a Camry
    > but got some Oldsmoblie 4WD . When that broke down
    > we got a Camry which gave nearly 30 .
    > In the UK I drive a Ford Contour/Mondeo which gives
    > 35 mpg with similar driving. It has only marginally
    > less passenger space than our hire cars and I have
    > driven it similar distances across Europe.
    > This alone makes a considerable reduction in gas
    > usage.
    > (On performance my 1.8 litre Contour with manual
    > gearbox is better than either of the American
    > cars)
    > Am I being too green?
    > Michael Roberts
    > P.S. Will American oil prospectors working in
    > Scotland get back at me!!

    A brief comment from another European (after all,
    aren't most white Americans also European?) that has
    now lived in the US for about 6 months (which of
    course makes him an expert on every detail and
    minuscle in American culture).

    It seems to me that there is an esthetic problem here.
    Americans tend to like big cars, at least cars that
    are bigger than most European cars. Take the so-called
    SUVs, they are on every street corner and tollway.
    They're huge, and they drive just like tanks (yes I
    have driven one), and I wouldn't want to know the gas
    mileage they make.

    If it is true that Americans like big cars (with big
    engines), the problem is not merely environmental, but
    additionally esthetic, or auto-cultural if you like.

    Then it is not just a matter of changing people's
    opinion on the environment, but more so of creating a
    new culture of cars. Take the cool Mercedes A Model
    for instance, why isn't that car introduced in
    America? (Now the A Model migt be in parts of America
    where I haven't been, but at least it is not in
    Chicago) It is obvious, I think; because there is no
    market for such a cool car here. In Europe this car is
    very popular (at least in Scandinavia it is),
    especially in the larger cities (not very many of
    those, though). Why not in Chicago or any other
    car-friendly American metropole?

    Just my quick thoughts.

    Bjorn Moller


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