Why Not Here??

I’ve been a Saab fan for the longest time. When I graduated from Emerson College in 1991, my parents gave me their 1980 Saab GLi as a present, and I enjoyed it for quite a while until it became too expensive to maintain in the metro NY area. Brake caliper? $290. Battery and alternator? $800. Steering rack? Priceless.

So fast forward a decade or so later, when Saab introduces its AWD 9-2x, which is basically a Subaru Impreza wagon with tuned suspension and Saab-ified body styling. A Subaru-built Saab was just too much to resist, so I picked one up, and have been having loads of fun with it for a little over a year now. What I am really waiting for though, is the 9-3 SportCombi, which I hope to get when my lease is up on the 9-2x. Saab finally returns to form with a killer sportwagon.

So why am I telling you all this? Well, last night I saw Saab USA’s new television advertisement based on its new “Born From Jets” campaign, and was wondering if there were any posters available on the net of the type I saw in the dealership on Monday when I had my car inspected. I also wanted to see when the SportCombi was supposed to arrive, as it was scheduled for a US debut in September, but my dealer still had not received any. Searching around the ‘net for info on these subjects, I found The Trollhatten, which is a blog all about Saab. In the archives, I noticed this article which talks about how well Saab’s ethanol-powered cars are selling in Sweden. The engine management system in the new Saabs allows for use of gasoline or ethanol in these cars. So my question is, with the ability of this nation to produce almost as much corn as desired, and with increased performance due to higher octane and the possibility of greatly reducing our dependence on foreign oil, why not here??? An ethanol-powered Saab 9-3 gains 20% more horsepower and 14% more torque over gasoline. Imagine if we started using ethanol in our cars. Leave the oil to the trucks running diesel, and the other more industrialized uses. How much foreign oil could we eliminate?

I remember a big issue in the ’70s was clogging of fuel lines with “gas-a-hol,” but people were trying to run these fuels in their automobiles without any modifications. Saab has shown that it’s possible to build automobiles that can run interchangably on either. So why not here?? With a phased-in government mandate, gas stations would be required to phase in ethanol pumps. We could do it, if we really wanted to.

I guess that’s the key phrase… If we really wanted to…

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