I agree with every thing in the editorial you wrote (“MPG Follies, Nov. 20). But you didn’t go far enough. I wish you would write an article on how SUVs and pickup trucks are used and the safety implications of continuingly building lighter and lighter cars and trucks that are expected to do the job.

Take my case, for example. My wife has a 2003 GMC Envoy with a trailer-towing package and heavy-duty suspension. I have a 2004 Chevy Silverado 1500, with a trailer towing package, limited slip, and a 373 rear end. My wife is 4 miles from work, and I am 6 miles from work. We put less than 10,000 miles on these vehicles a year, but we use them for a variety of purposes.

They must have room to carry my wife and I, along with our grandkids. We have a small ranch, so both trucks are also expected to haul and tow. At times I am pulling 13,300 lb with my truck and stock trailer. A -ton truck would do some of these jobs better but gas mileage would be 13 mpg without any load. (Both our trucks get 22 mpg on interstates with light loads.)

If fuel-mileage standards for SUVs and light trucks are increased to proposed levels, these vehicles will be lucky to pull themselves. The bigger problem, and a safety issue, is that medium-sized loads will push the towing vehicle all over the place while braking. Simple physics. My question is, what kind of vehicle are they going to leave us with?

Bob Lunnon

Bob, thanks for writing. I grew up on a dairy farm and we always drove trucks for the same reasons you mention. In my opinion, the people pushing for high mpg ratings are blind to the realities of those who have lifestyles that do not consist entirely of commuting to an office job in some kind of urban setting.

Lee Teschler

Union bashing?

I read your editorial (“Don’t hold your breath waiting for U.S. automakers to thrive,” Oct. 25). I think there’s enough greed on both sides of the table, from the UAW and management, to go around, don’t you? I’d appreciate you mentioning that in an article, even though it might cost you some ad money. At least be unbiased.

David Gayle

As I said in the editorial, both UAW and Big Three management can be accused of being unrealistic about the costs associated with the vehicles they make.

Lee Teschler

But you didn’t say it very loudly Mr. Teschler. The whole article is definitely biased against the UAW. I would have thought that a more balanced article about wage and benefits balanced against corporate profits would have been more appropriate. Instead we get the remark “ too many UAW members sleeping on the job”.

David Gayle

That was a comment made to me. I merely reported it. If the editorial sounded biased, it was because it reflected the comments I heard at National Manufacturing Week regarding the strike. I did not hear any pro-UAW comments there.

Lee Teschler

Best foot forward

I read your editorial about the unfriendly face some companies put on their factories (“What is a factory?” Nov. 8), and I thought you might be interested in how Toyota appears to its community here in Georgetown, Ky. Toyota built a visitor center with displays showing how its vehicles work. Three times a day (four times on Thursdays), visitors may take a tour of the factory which is conducted in motorized trains. The tours are often booked days in advance. On the tour, visitors not only get to see how cars are put together, but also learn about the Toyota’s corporate philosophy. I took the tour and came away with a positive view of the company and its interaction with the community.

Larry Smith

Fording the Fjords

Just got done reading the review on the new H3 Hummer. It said that this vehicle “.....will ford (sic) 16 in.. of water at 20 mph....”. Although “ford” is a correct use of this word, I’m used to seeing it spelled as fjord. I was also somewhat surprised at the H3’s small engine and, thus, low tow ratings. I always thought these things were beasts. From your review, folks obviously will not buy them to tow any kind of sizable boat or other type trailer. Gas mileage stinks, too.

Gary Vignos

In fact, fjord and fiord are nouns describing deep, and narrow waterways; ford is the verb meaning to cross a body of water.

— Editor

Gadget guesses gone wrong

It appears to me to be the first design of an automatic tennis-ball throwing machine. I believe this gadget is a propane- powered heater, commonly referred to as a turboheater these days, used in garages and semi-enclosed construction projects during the winter.

Eric

Looks like an early snowmaker.

Paul

An acetylene-powered sonic cannon for avalanche control.

Doug

It launches T-shirts or similar soft goods into the stands at football games.

Richard

A confetti cannon.

Gary