Letter to the Editor: Brake time

^ Posted Feb. 7


It seems like the auto brake pedal shrank over the years. It used to be bigger in the 1970s. Maybe that is why we hear about cars running into store fronts so often. The women drivers always say that they missed the brake pedal by mistake.

The automobile has gone through millions of changes over the years. Henry Ford knew all about that. He and his engineers went through years of triail and error before being satisfied with the T, which he named after the 20th letter of the alphabet. The Model T had a 20-horsepower engine and was made 20 years from 1908 to 1927. The Model T was the world's most popular car.

The 1971 Ford Pinto was quite possibly the poorest American car ever made. The Chevrolet Vega wasn't any better, and the Vega is the only car that branched out into four body styles from the same name plate. It was offered as a hatchback, sedan, wagon and panel express. The Pinto and Vega were very unreliable, but we had to start somewhere in the small car market.

Gas prices have doubled since Obama took office, so you would think the small car market would be doing well. Small cars account for only 1 percent of U.S. sales. Hybrids account for about 3 percent. Electric cars aren't even on the chart. Jay Leno once said that electric cars are like seat belts. When they first came out nobody wanted them. It took a long time for people to get used to wearing them.

There is a tech buff overkill on new cars. It took 80 years to invent the cup holder, but almost overnight cars have turned into entertainment centers. Cars are made for transportation, not to become rolling iPads.

Auto sales have gone up 13 percent from a year ago. It is good to see the industry starting to offer turbocharged engines and AWD - all wheel drive. A turbocharged engine can be smaller, so it gets better mileage. AWD should be standard on all cars, and oh, yes, our brake pedals should be bigger.

David Tankersley III, Maurertown

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