Professor Markus Zindelo English 1213-048 May 17 2013 Weight Problems In society today, childhood obesity is becoming a growing and alarming concern. This trend is reflected in the poem “Fat Children,” by Natalie Day. This is a poem about how hard a mother found it to stop feeding the hungry mouths of her children. A thoughtful analysis of this poem reveals a theme about unethically advocating being overweight. This is easily discernible in the sentence, “Even when they smelled of vomit / and diarrhea, I kept feeding them” (Day lines 11-12).
Reading on, this theme evelops even further in the sentence, “l kept baking cakes and frying sausages, / even when repulsed” (Day 12-13). While this is a very widely known subject, unbeknownst to some is that this very topic is being frantically debated as applicable to the modern automobile. On one side of the argument, there are those who say the modern automobile should be a strictly economic and lightweight machine. On the other side are those who say the modern automobile should not be a strictly economic and lightweight machine.
However, despite each side’s argument, a ompromise must commence for the sake of all automotive consumers. Those who claim the modern automobile should be a strictly economic and lightweight machine exclaim so primarily due to the excessive costs involved with moving the extra weight. Number one of all is the increased fuel consumption from carrying extra weight. This can result in a degradation of up to around seven percent in fuel economy per ten percent increase of vehicle mass (Bjelkengren 81). Additionally, this effect is amplified depending on the aggressiveness of a person’s driving style (“Gas Mileage”).
This argument is also extended to the extra wear and tear of parts on the vehicle. The most notable of these parts are the tires and brakes. The more a vehicle weighs, the more debris wears away from the tires and brakes (“Environmental”). It can cost several hundred dollars to replace all four tires and a couple hundred more to replace the brakes, as well. Lastly, while there are many extras that a consumer may choose from, modern vehicles have increasingly more standard features ranging from things as innocent as a radio that will connect to a smart phone, to adding rear DVD players, to large wheels (Archer).
This ultimately pushes up the price of the automobile for the consumer, even if the extras are unwanted. In addition, the side for more economical and lightweight vehicles argues the positive environmental aspect of having less vehicle weight. Some of these reasons follow closely with cost, interestingly enough. For example, the increased consumption of fuel deposits more chemicals into the atmosphere. Vehicle fuel consumption accounts for two-thirds of the US’s carbon monoxide emissions as well as large numbers of other harmful gasses (“Protect”).
Similarly, the excess weight yproduct of increased brake and tire wear contribute to an increased environmental impact by releasing particles that have been shown to cause toxicity in soil and generated from manufacturing, extraction, and end-of-life efforts and cause an amplification of environmental impact, as well. Furthermore, the side advocating modern economic and lightweight vehicles debates the effects of a vehicle’s mass on its performance. An Increase of vehicle weight can actually degrade overall vehicle performance in a negative way (Bjelkengren 24).
Within this discussion, they are specifically concerned with the egradation of acceleration performance. This concern is confirmed by the results, which have shown that overall vehicle mass reduction greatly effects acceleration performance. An examination of one study reveals that gains in acceleration can often be seen at rates equal to or higher than the percentage of mass taken away, to a certain degree. An example would be a ten percent or higher increase in acceleration for a ten percent decrease in mass (Bjelkengren 82).
With such a direct impact on acceleration and overall vehicle performance, it is easy to see why they laim the modern car should be lightweight. Alternatively, the side of the debate disputes that the advancement of technology mostly balances itself out on the issue. The first area in which it balances out is the effect of new technology on fuel economy. While modern vehicles do indeed have new technologies that could add weight, advancements have been made to counteract this. The average engine has become more fuel efficient and subsequently has more power per liter of displacement than they have had in the past (“Energy’).
Equally, transmissions have become more efficient as well, thus elping to equalize the fuel economy impact even more (“Energy’). Ultimately, while this side is concerned about fuel economy, they feel in the end it is not affected by the extras in question. Likewise, this side feels that there is not an extra cost going into the added extravagancies. As with much technology over time, many of such extravagancies have become cheaper. A good example is the price of LCD televisions, which dropped between sixty and eighty percent over the course of thirteen quarters from 2006 – 2009 (Conlon).
This theory is also supported when comparing prices of comparably quipped models from 15 years ago and today. Note that the 1998 Toyota Avalon XLE V6 was introduced at $28,288 and the comparable 2013 Toyota Camry SE V6 was introduced at $27,260 (“Compare”). That modern Camry not only has more features, more power, and extremely comparable fuel economy (“Compare”), but even costs around $13,700 less after accounting for inflation (“Inflation”). Therefore, it is clear to see that modernly utilized technology is not actually costing the consumer any more than vehicles from yesteryear.
While both sides seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum on this matter, they ctually share a common interest. The similar interest in this debate is excessive fuel consumption. Those who proclaim the modern automobile should be a strictly economic and lightweight machine care about not consuming excessive amounts of fuel by doing away with unneeded and heavy extras. They also don’t want a higher impact on the environment from increased fuel consumption. Likewise, those who proclaim the modern automobile should not be a strictly economic and lightweight machine care about preserving the fuel economy as set by their previous cars.
They welcome the addition of new technology. In the end, although both sides care about and measure excessive fuel consumption differently, they care about it equally. Since both sides agree to an aversion of excessive fuel consumption, a great compromise would simply be to use lighter wheel and tire setup. A trend has been continuing where vehicles are being equipped with increasingly larger wheels and tires (Paula). This added rotational mass has very serious adverse effects to fuel economy, as tested by Car and Driver.
They logged that the difference in weight was only fourteen pounds per corner between the smallest and largest wheel and tire combos tested. Astoundingly, they experienced a ten percent drop in fuel economy with such a small difference. Moreover, the same study states a four percent increase of acceleration performance resulted between the use of the largest and smallest wheel and tire combos (Quiroga). This would benefit those with weight concerns of the modern vehicle by dropping the total vehicle weight by fifty pounds or more, depending on the wheel and tire materials used. Similarly, they would benefit from the increase of acceleration.
Lastly and most importantly, since their number one concern is fuel consumption, this would make them happy to be saving a very ignificant ten percent of consumption. Finally, in regard to those who do not do not think the modern automobile should be a strictly economic and lightweight machine, this is a win for them, as well. This way, they would not have to give up any heavy creature comforts in order to preserve fuel consumption. In fact, due to the significant drop in fuel consumption, they could even opt for more gadgets and luxuries and still have better fuel economy than they did previously.
This solution of compromise could work well for both parties involved, but they must meet in the middle. Not only that, but they must voice their opinions to the automotive manufacturers to be heard. If they are not heard, then neither they, nor anyone else will reap the beneficial compromise that could be had here. May the power be within their hands to go forth, do a good thing, and set the example for the benefit of automotive consumers everywhere. Works Cited Archer, Jeffery. “8 New Cars with Surprising Standard Features. “AutoTrader. com. TPI Holdings, Inc. , 2013. Web. 15 May 2013. Bjelkengren, Catarina. The Impact of Mass Decompounding on Assessing the Value of Vehicle Lightweighting. MIT. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 2008. Web. 16 May 2013. “Compare – Summary – Autos. ” MSN Autos. Microsoft, 2013. Web. 15 May 2013. Conlon, Christopher T. “A Dynamic Model of Prices and Margins in the LCD TV Industry. ” Columbia University. Columbia University WAC, 02 Nov. 2012. Web. 15 May 2013. Day, Natalie. “Fat Children. ” Indiana Review Issue: 31. 1 (2009): 115. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 May 2013 “Energy Efficient Technologies. ” FuelEconomy. gov. U. S. Department of Energy, n. d. Web. 15 May 2013. Environmental Impacts from Automobiles. ” US EPA. US Environmental Protection Agency, n. d. Web. 15 May 2013. “Gas Mileage Tips – Driving More Efficiently. ” FuelEconomy. gov. US Department of Energy, n. d. Web. 15 May 2013. “Inflation Calculator. ” U. S. Department of Labor. U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, n. d. Web. 09 May 2013. Paula, Matthew De. “Design Disasters: Three Ways Cars Are Getting Worse. ” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 27 Apr. 2011. Web. 15 May 2013. “Protect the Environment – On the Road. ” EPA. “Effects of Upsized Wheels and Tires Tested. ” Car and Driver. Hearst Communications, Inc. , Apr. 2010. Web. 15 May 2013.