Assuming you don’t live in Cuba, you will have dealt with a car that has lost its value and become useless due to rust. Consumer Reports states that a modern car has a life expectancy of 8 years. Various parts under the body also rust out that make a car unusable, let alone the aesthetics of a rusty body. Shock mounts, motor mounts, fuel lines, brake lines, gas tanks. It is all because of the nature of steel. Steel rusts.
For over a hundred years Detroit has relied on this designed obsolescence aspect of their product. Its all a hoax. The environmental damage is twofold. Replacing a 2,500 pound object every 10 years when it should be lasting at least 30 years is one aspect. The other is the amount of fuel a car uses to move 2,500 pounds down the road when it should only be 1,500 pounds that we are pushing down the road.
The other aspect is what it costs the consumer. The frugal consumer should only be having to buy 2 cars in his lifetime, not 7. There’s no need for this except corporate greed and Congressional malfeasance. Of all the goofy things environmental wackos get wound up about (straws in California no less), the environmental cost of the car industry is one they should be screaming mad about, but aren’t.
Being a gunner, I remember back in the 80’s when Glock came out with the first “plastic” gun, the G17 in 1983. Anti-gunners went “hair-on-fire” nuts with warnings of plastic guns flowing past airport security and onto planes. Glock’s proprietary Nylon 6 polymer was indeed an engineering breakthrough, but the pistol still required enough metal that it would never make it through a metal detector unnoticed.
Glock did this for 3 reasons: Cost, corrosion and weight. Nylon 6 polymer is easier to mold, it doesn’t rust and it weighs less then steel. This when combined with other parts being made from aluminum made for a drastically lighter and rust-free weapon. Glock also gave their customers a better product, one whose cost was cheaper and lasted longer. Who doesn’t want that?
The Postal Service did a similar thing in 1988 when they came out with their aluminum body Long Life Vehicle. 30 years later and not an ounce of rust. Its chemically impossible for aluminum to rust. Their newer conventional steel minivans are already rusting! 5 – 10 years old and they are near the end of their lifespan! (I’m sure that had nothing to do with the choice to go back to steel!) The purchasing officer put himself out of a job.
Congress mandates what toilet we use. What lightbulbs we’ll use. The new style of TV’s and many other aspects of the products we buy, all on environmental grounds. None that are a fraction of the impact and cost of the auto and oil industries. There is no reason why Detroit shouldn’t be given incentive to change. Imagine, all we should have to be doing is giving our vehicle a new paint job every 10 years, not replacing it!
A new era of vehicles made of polymers and aluminum would last virtually forever, use less fuel and greatly reduce environmental destruction.
DeLorean’s venture into the rust-free realm was with a stainless steel car. Of course it had to be ridiculed and stopped. It could have changed things forever. Congress is worried about the environmental aspects of a lightbulb, but not your car??