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Readers write

Kirk Caraway’s column on the 600-horsepower, 60-mpg Hummer H2 was a good laugh. Apparently, the laws of physics are unknown to Kirk, who must also think engineers at Toyota, Honda and Mercedes-Benz have their heads in the sand.

I don’t know Kirk’s age, but to those of us who actually know how cars work and have been around a while, stories about vehicles with amazing performance ” be it speed or gas mileage ” are as reliable as Big Foot sightings. Any period of high gas prices or short supply brings them out.

Perhaps people nearing Social Security age remember the Dale Automobile. In November 1974, roughly a year after the Arab oil embargo, the Dale promised 70 mpg, would sell for $2,000 and created a sensation in Southern California.



The Dale was the brainchild of Elizabeth Carmichael, said to be the widow of a NASA engineer. It was reported that Johnny Carson was an early investor. Actually, Carmichael was a transsexual, born Jerry Dean Michael ” the Dale was a scam. Carmichael was eventually found working in a flower shop and sent to prison.

Soon afterward, a 100-mpg Pinto appeared, this time supposedly developed by a NASCAR mechanic using a tiny industrial diesel. Unfortunately, independent testing didn’t produce the claimed mileage and the engine failed to meet the far-less stringent emissions standards of the mid-70s. And this Pinto was really slow.



But don’t despair. Not long ago I rented a BMW diesel in France that was roomy, comfortable, had adequate power and delivered nearly 50 mpg. I’m sure BMW and other car companies would love to sell these small diesels in America; diesels that, incidentally, make up over half of new car sales in Europe. Unfortunately, stringent particle emission standards have mostly kept them out of the United States and California in particular.

A few years back, a friend invested in two Volkswagen Golf diesels and in over 100,000 miles of driving has been rewarded with over 50 mpg. He’s urging me to buy one of these VWs when they become available in California again next year. You can too, for real.

As a longtime resident of Tahoe, I am so deeply saddened by the inability of the human residents to listen, learn and react responsibly. The “three- strikes” death of the baby cub this month was totally unnecessary. I was furious when I saw that it was taken from a Dumpster that should have been locked down but was not. The owners of that Dumpster should be so ashamed of themselves.

It is also unacceptable that for at least the last 10 years that I know of, both the BEAR League and Carl Lackey have been trying to educate us (and usually at great expense) on how to live in wildlife habitat, and apparently a lot of people either can’t read or just don’t care. How sad is that? I personally live here for the great privilege of co-existing with all the wildlife. For those of you who just really don’t care, why don’t you go back to the “concrete” jungle and try to coexist with the human wildlife?

Maybe you can accomplish getting some of them eliminated, too.

Thanks to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office and Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Center for having the common sense to identify the juvenile mountain lion (identified as such by his teeth) as simply lost and returning it back into the immediate wild area it strayed from.

Young wild lions wandering into human territory are like kids lost in a mall. They don’t know which way to go. The wilderness has markers to tell them where they are, but as soon as they enter human territory, there are no more guides, and this young lion was surely as scared as the people! It’s refreshing to hear about happy endings.

This is one I’ll mention at our table.


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