Soon we may be able to thank Ford Motor Company for helping save the environment. Though over a hundred years ago they were the first manufacturer to mass-produce automobiles – making the horseless carriage available to the average family – and in turn creating huge amounts of environment-damaging emissions, I think they have inadvertently helped to save the world.
And it can all be attributed to Ford’s engineering fault and my ingenious (read: stupid) plan.
A Ford recall was made due to a faulty door latch on certain models, my car included. I remember receiving the letter a few months ago and promptly dismissed it so I could get back to more important things. Not caring, for instance.
But over Memorial Day weekend both of my rear door latches failed and neither would shut. I was still out and about, so I stole a few bungee cords and rope from my brother-in-law and did my best to rig the doors shut. In doing so, I greatly regretted quitting the Boy Scouts as a kid because I realized the only knot I know is the This Will Have To Do knot.
Due to my lack of knot knowledge, my car doors swung open a few inches each time I turned, resulting in a stressful ride back home, wondering if my car had suddenly and violently cleared all pedestrians from the sidewalk.
In my worrisome drive, I realized the benefit of not having functioning door latches and its positive effects on car emissions – it forced me to drive “smooth.”
Every turn, every start and every stop was executed with calculated precision in an effort to not swing the doors open. I carefully turned and kept my speed below the limit. I barely touched the throttle coming away from red lights and I coasted over long distances when approaching a stop.
This is exactly how the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy wants you to drive.
According to a study on light-duty vans by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, “aggressive driving” can lower your gas mileage by 10-30 percent at highway speeds and up to 40 percent in stop-and-go traffic. Aggressive driving includes speeding, rapid acceleration and deceleration. Or “driving” as I like to call it.
So my idea to improve gas mileage and reduce the negative effects of emissions is to simply outlaw door latches.
Oh sure, there would be downsides like headlines reading, “Cycling event ends with dozens of fatalities as car makes right turn,” and “How to stop losing fingers every time you drive.” But it would all be for the greater good – the environment.
If door latches stopped being fitted to cars, I predict everyone on the road would drive with smooth precision, thereby lowering fuel consumption and helping to curb harmful emissions. That, or people would get so sick of their doors becoming wings, they would trade in their cars for bikes or use public transportation, which could also have a positive impact on the environment.
So if the environment is of great concern to you, write your local representative and tell them you want to outlaw car door latches, the next great step in limiting harmful emissions.
And be sure to tell them it was my idea. You’ll want to be able to place the blame when the lawsuits begin.