I have an idea! Unusual for so early in the morning! I just read a summary of the new J.D. Powers report concerning consumer satisfaction with their automobiles. It might be a bit early to ask J.D. Powers to amend its survey to specifically cover flex fuel cars, since there are probably too few flex fuel cars on the road (only 10,000,000 compared to over 250,000,000 automobiles). Further, most of flex fuel cars now in use provide only a limited choice of fuels: ethanol and oil-based gasoline. But, where there is a will there is a way. I suspect there are statistical methods to do what I suggest involving power calculations, and all the stuff that I learned with difficulty in my earlier years in college.
Over a Barrel bets that if J.D. Powers added flex fuel autos or questions concerning flex fuel cars, they would find that flex fuel car owners are lots happier, take fewer Prozac pills, sleep better, and go on more vacations in Hawaii because they pay much less for fuel. The, literally, poorer drivers of most of the cars now on the road will thank their lucky flex fuel brethren for a survey indicating the joy of flex fuels – even when the choice of fuels is a narrow one because of monopolistic conditions governing the oil market.
I can see it now. We have the Joy of Sex and More Sex. We will be blessed with Chicken Soup for the Elderly, Young and About Everyone Else. After, an amended survey, J.D. Powers, or a spinoff start-up company, could write the Joy of Automobile Driving Again…or How to Get from Here to There for Less than $2.00 a Gallon, compared to our frequently-changing, much higher gasoline prices, now averaging from $3.50 to over $4.50 a gallon – a range in price likely to go much higher over time.
So Mr. Powers, your survey up to now has done a wonderful job helping consumers choose their automobiles. You have many feathers in your cap. If your survey covered flex fuel cars, specifically, you would help the American public make the market for oil, and its derivative gasoline, a really open free market. You could do a “mitzvah,” which my grandmother told me means blessing in Yiddish. I am sure we have many Over a Barrel readers who know Yiddish?
All you got to do is to ask some of the following kinds of questions of auto owners on the survey. Do you like your flex fuel car? What kind of fuel do you generally choose – ethanol, gasoline, other? Do you find it easy to get fuel; that is, are there fuel stations near your home or work? Have you had any problems with your flex fuel vehicle? If you have, could you describe them briefly? Have the fuels you used caused you any problems (e.g. maintenance of engine).
We bet you had a regular non-flex fuel car before you went with a flex fuel automobile. Which automobile do you like the best, your flex fuel automobile or your former gasoline-only car? The answers might be very insightful.