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Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Gratuitous Pacer-Bashing

A July 31 column by Kevin Martin -- a member of the black-conservative group Project 21, just like Erebus-obsessed Mychal Massie -- makes misleading claims about auto efficiency and safety, gratutiously slamming the hapless AMC Pacer in the process.

After noting that Barack Obama doesn't drive a hybrid car despite supporting increased fuel efficiency, Martin writes:

I choose to drive a Suzuki Grand Vitara. It gets me 18 miles per gallon inthe city and 22 miles per gallon on the highway. I need an SUV because my job as an environmental contractor requires me to carry both equipment and people to building sites. I can't do that in a hybrid Honda Insight.

Besides, I can't even buy a Honda Insight anymore. Honda discontinued it last year due to poor sales, and it just announced it is discontinuing its Accord hybrid for the same reason.

Aside from falsely suggesting that the Honda insight and Accord are the only hybrids on the market and nobody wants to buy them (has he never heard of the Toyota Prius) Martin is suggesting he would buy a hybrid SUV. Allow us to suggest the Ford Escape, the Mercury Mariner, or (if Martin can afford it, which his wingnut welfare just might do) the Lexus RX400 -- all hybrid SUVs of which beat his Grand Vitara in mileage and can still haul his equipment and people.

Then, after claiming that "approximately 2,000 deaths per year since 1975 can be attributed to smaller vehicles that were downsized to increase their fuel efficiency," Martin adds: "Raising fuel economy requirements again wil make the reincarnation of a car-safety blunder like the AMC Pacer almost a certainty."

Huh? While there were many issues with the Pacer (not the least of which is that Garth drove one), safety was not one of them. In fact, it was designed to incorporate many safety features. It was also not as fuel-efficient as intended; designed around a Wankel engine that GM ended up canceling, the Pacer used heavy, inefficient engines from other AMC cars and actually got somewhat worse mileage than Martin's Grand Vitara.

Martin needs to do a bit more research on hybrids before putting pen to paper again -- and not lie about AMC products.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:33 PM EDT

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