(NaturalNews) We've all heard the negative references to "gas-guzzling SUVs" and Americans' "reliance on foreign oil," the inference being that folks living in the U.S. drive too much, and drive vehicles that get horrible gas mileage. Besides the fact that Americans were essentially forced into the driving lifestyle by careless strip mall planning, would you believe that the federal government is also responsible for intentionally keeping truly fuel-efficient cars off the market?
It's true. In Europe, virtually all the major automakers from Toyota and Nissan to Volkswagen and BMW manufacture regular cars that get anywhere from 50 to 300 miles per gallon (MPG), while even the latest and greatest American hybrids only top about 40 MPG. The reason? It's difficult to say, but one couple that recently traveled to Europe and conducted their own investigation into the matter says a combination of greed and highly restrictive emissions policies is to blame.
Michael and Stephanie Relfe of Health Wealth & Happiness took a trip to France back in 2006 and, upon arriving to pick up their rental car, noticed something unusual. The medium-sized Citroen van that they were given -- Citroen is a French automaker that does not sell vehicles in the U.S. -- looked similar to some smaller-sized vans sold in the U.S. But what was under the hood and how it performed on the road was completely different.
Rather than achieving a typical 15-25 MPG, at best, depending on road conditions, the Citroen van performed at an average of 60 MPG, or about triple what a van of its size in the U.S. might attain. Struck by this amazing fuel efficiency, the duo looked at other cars sold across Europe and noticed a similar trend -- all of them performed orders of magnitude more efficiently than their American counterparts.
"Our government is preventing ultra-high-mileage vehicles from being sold here -- even though some are built here!" wrote Stephanie Relfe in a recent piece for Relfe.com. "With mileages of 50 MPG, 75 MPG, 180 MPG and even 300 MPG, the government says these vehicles 'don't meet American standards,' but they're fine for Europe, which has much higher environmental standards than the US."
Take the Nissan Qashqai SUV crossover, for instance. You might be able to squeeze 26 MPG out of the U.S. version of this vehicle. But in Europe, the average mileage tops 56 MPG, which is more than double this amount. The same is true for the TDI Volkswagen Passat wagon, the American version of which gets about 43 MPG on the highway, according to the Volkswagen America website. In Europe, this same car gets more than 78 MPG on the highway.
"If you manage to get one into the states, you will be allowed 30 days to leave with it or it will be impounded and crushed," wrote Stephanie about the European version of the TDI Volkswagen Passat wagon. "Are you outraged yet? I hope so."
Corn ethanol in US fuel means even worse gas mileage
Making matters worse is corn ethanol subsidies, the fuel of which makes American cars even less efficient than they already are. The American version of the Nissan Qashqai SUV crossover might get 26 MPG on the highways using pure fuel, but when that same fuel is mixed with ethanol, the mileage drops by more than 30 percent.
"Personally, we believe that this disgusting destruction of our freedom goes way past making the oil barons and oligarchs insanely rich at our expense, and the government stealing even more money through taxes for fuel that we don't need to use," say the Relfes. "We believe it's also to help the oligarchs maintain control."