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Sign of the Times

June 3, 2008

In case you haven’t noticed, gas prices are high. High enough that they seem to be having a very real impact on vehicle purchasing habits. Personally, I’m shocked it took this long. The writing was on the wall back in September 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. But now it’s gotten absurd. Now, suddenly, fuel economy matters.

And you know what? Automakers are responding. Even GM. No, seriously, they are. In addition to the promised Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, here’s a bit of what they’re planning:

  • Closing four North American truck plants by 2010 (guess sales aren’t so hot…)
  • Will begin building a new compact sedan next year (which is amazing – the new Camaro was announced back in 2006 or something, and still won’t launch until next year). But here’s the real kicker – it’s going to be powered by GM’s global 1.4L direct-injection turbo four-cylinder. This new engine should rate around 130 hp and pull down fuel economy ratings of as high as 40mpg.
  • Will be commencing a “strategic review” of the Hummer brand, which they are already revealing may result in the sale or outright shutdown of the brand. 1st, that sucks for all the dealers they strongarmed into building those gaudy faux-military Hummer stores. 2nd, it sucks for all the selfish a-holes who think the Tahoe-with-a-body-kit that is the H2 is the cat’s meow. 3rd, honestly, will anybody really miss Hummer?

In other news, the Clubman averaged 35 mpg this morning on the drive in to downtown.

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