Conservative auto-rebate plan: affront to nature and market

Mon May 21 20:08:33 2007 EST (-0500 GMT)

I’m a big Honda fan, be it my own Super-Civic (the Canada only Acura EL), or the VTEC engine technology they pioneered, or the ailing-but-still-better-than-Toyota’s F1 team they run and their commitment to the planet earth. In fact it’s that commitment I want to draw attention to.

Honda was the first company to have it’s entire fleet of vehicles meet US ultra-low emissions standards and had the first production hybrid with the two-door, two-seat Honda Insight (not the Prius!). Honda makes more engines than any other company in the world, largely do to Honda’s small engine line (generators, lawn mowers, motorbikes and ATVs, etc.) that lead the industry (by far!) in promoting earth-friendly technologies like using four-stroke engines over two.

Environment Canada has a good write up on how bad two stroke engines are on the environment, highlighting that “a 70-horsepower (hp) two-stroke outboard emits the same mass of hydrocarbon pollution in one hour as a new car does driving 8000 kilometres, and “that two-stroke outboards produce 12 times as much BTEX as four-strokes, and five times as much oil and grease.” www.ec.gc.ca/science/sandemay00/article1_e.html

This very earth-conscious (<-- carefully chosen words) company was shut out of Ottawa's recent environmentally friendly car rebate that caps the rebate at cars that use less than 6.5 liters of gas for every 100 kilometres driven. This shuts outs all of Honda's cars except the Civic Hybrid (which uses 4.7 liters/100Km) but most importantly excludes the Honda Fit which uses 6.6 liters/100km. Meanwhile, the Toyota Yaris which uses 6.5L/100km does qualify for the rebate.
Honda Fit
The Yaris is not a pleasant car, the inside looks & feels cheap, the dash instruments are in the centre of the car and it feels underpowered and and handles clumsily. Contrast this to the fit which has great look & feel, handles and well and feels peppy and amounts to a small car that does not ask for any compromises from the owner – it even costs a little less for similar specifications.

In short, the Fit compares best to cars in the 7-9L/100L category, and will hopefully be purchased instead of those cars. [both cars have excellent storage].

Here’s the Canadian Driver reviews for: Honda Fit | Toyota Yaris

Both Honda and Toyota have large investments in Canada, why would the Canadian government privilege one maker over the other? Especially when the government gave no warning of this arbitrary millage figure.

Honda tried to dialogue with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty with no success.

Honda has now written an open letter to Canadians describing their record, their concern, and their temporary solution.

Honda has introduced “The Honda Benefit” which provides Honda’s own $1000 rebate on the Fit and Civic.

I want to give Honda my support here and point out that the Conservatives’ weakness on the environment is so great that they can’t even try to help the environment and keep in mind their own economic goals. This policy has increased Toyota Yaris sales by 15% in the first full month that is has been in effect [from Autoblog.com] and is having a very disproportionate impact on the free market.

Yet another example of a conservative government showing that it can cut taxes (like Bush 1 & 2 or like Mike Harris in Ontario) but they can’t manage an economy or a budget.