I’m really tempted to write President Obama a letter. Maybe someone can just email him over a copy of this column instead. He’s listed.
In this letter, I want to express my deepest concern on a declaration of policy he made right after taking his seat in the oval office.
At that time, the new government was bailing out a couple of folks named "Fanny" and "Freddie." I graduated with two kids from high school with the same name, but somehow I think these two are different people because they both got government checks in hundred’s of billions of dollars - different high school probably.
Anyway, in this letter to the President, I was going to include an invoice I got from my buddies over at S&P Automotive Specialists on Hwy. 17.
I went in there to get a simple oil change and tune-up for my 2007 GMC Denali truck. When Mike handed me the invoice it had a "note" on it reading: "FRONT PINION SEAL LEAKING."
"Better check your warranty on that, Mr. Victor," said Mike. "You might be covered."
But the look on Mike’s face was not reassuring. To make matters worse, I was literally on my way back up North for a wedding and didn’t have time to get to the GM dealership and have it looked at.
Then I remembered what President Obama said a month or two ago about how he and the government were planning to bail out not only the two afore mentioned people, but also one of the big three US car manufacturers as well - General Motors. The new Democratic congress doled out two or three billion to keep them afloat, if I remember correctly.
Then the President said on national television; "If you own a GM automobile, the government will stand behind your warranty."
Wow!Even with two wars going on, the world and nation in economic crisis, Iran and North Korea breathing nuclear threats down our necks and Osama Bin Laden still at large, here was the President of the United States personally guaranteeing that my pinion seal would be - well, sealed.
Now that’s personal service!
But as of this writing, I’m not so sure that he’ll be able to stand behind his warranty as promised.
I read in the news that GM is going under, Chapter 11, and that no one knows what happened to the original billions the company was "lent." Gone forever we’re told in the press. And to make matters worse, President Obama and the Democratic lead Congress plan to issue an edict that by 2014, ALL new vehicles sold in the US will have to have a minimum gas rating of 35 miles per gallon! There goes my warranty. And there goes about 1100 national GM dealerships - mostly Republican owned according to some Washington insiders. Hmmmm. But that’s another article.
Hey, I just wanted someone to look and my pinion seal, okay?
On the way up to the wedding, I was listening to Fox News (is there any other?) and they were covering the same topic by saying that the US government (we folks) will own 70 percent of GM and that the money to pay for all of this, and the trillions of bucks for the stimulus package, will come from a very big lender - China.
China? Our "personal" banker? The US Census Bureau says that in 2008 the US totaled 304,059,724 people. Do we all get red pens? If so, the Chinese may think twice about the loan.
But in researching this article on government backed warrantees, I looked up the average gas mileage over the years to see if this new 35 miles per gallon the President proposed was going to fly, (pun intended). At a 21 mpg rating, my GMC Denali truck would be toast. In fact, "all" trucks of any kind would be toast. Is the government telling us that the American truck could be going the same way as possibly owning a firearm? Banned?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) "the average gas mileage for new vehicles sold in the United States [domestic and foreign] has gone from 23.1 miles per gallon (mpg) in 1980 to 24.7 mpg in 2004. This represents a paltry increase of slightly less than 7 percent over the 25 year period."
Not even close to 35 mpg.
Also, according to the US Bureau of Transportation statistics, in 1980, "light trucks" sold in the US averaged 16.0 mpg on the highway and 14.0 mpg in the city. In 2006 they averaged a combined 21.0 mpg.
Can anyone say, "I ‘loved’ my truck" in Chinese? Past tense.
The question remains, will we as Americans be "allowed" or have the "right" to buy anything other than a dull, homogenous, 35 mpg, proletariat, tree hugging, monophonic, "car of the people?" (The German translation of which is "Volkswagen") Zeeech!
Boy will Nascar be boring to watch. You’ll be able to walk to the concession stand faster than the race will be going.
Come to think of it - you know what? The heck with my GM warranty. Thank you, Mr. President for the offer, but I better get that front pinion seal fixed on my own and keep my beautiful 5.8 liter humming for as long as I can. Even if it cost’s me a couple of hundred bucks, so what. It’ll be worth it not to have to wait in line with my hand out like those people Fanny and Freddie, Chrysler, GM, major US banks or the folks over in the Chinese accounts payable department.
Colunnist-At-Large Victor Pisano is a resident of Ford Plantation.