It’s OK to suck a tailpipe or yet another moment of Jungian synchronicity

In today’s Boston Globe Magazine, Clifford Atiyeh’s “The Crusade Against Cars” tackles car lovers’ central dilemma today:

“Social responsibility” is the media topic du jour, the latest feel-good narcissism of those leading government, corporations, and other big-mouth organizations. Part of the idea is to give an appearance of top-down restraint – that it’s not OK for the CEO to upgrade his Gulfstream V while downsizing his company. In the auto world, social responsibility comes with good intentions – tougher federal fuel economy mandates, tighter emission controls – but for car lovers like me, it’s a sucker punch in the face.

In other words, it’s hard to be both “authentically” green and also love cars that aren’t.

Reading Atiyeh’s piece created a moment of synchronicity for me.

Just yesterday, I was at an undercarriage session of the Boston Chapter of the BMW Car Club. An “undercarriage session?”

Simple. You take your car to a BMW dealer who allows you into the shop to go over the car with one of their master mechanics. If, like me, you own a car that costs a fortune to maintain, the opportunity to have a master technician take a look at your car for free is like Prozac for budget anxiety.

The session was held in a newly reconstructed BMW dealership and, to put it mildly, the shop was beautiful. Brightly lit, spotless and odor-free, even with cars’ engines running.

I mentioned this to the tech who was giving my car the Nth degree and he said, “What don’t you see here?”

I was stumped. Turns out there were no exhaust hoses to connect to the tailpipes of running cars. None. Cars that are run in the shop empty emissions directly into the shop, which must have had 36 bays.

The tech explained that today’s cars are so clean that the building’s architects were able to design a single airflow system that moved enough fresh air through the shop to obviate the need for separate exhaust hoses. He also mentioned that OSHA and other government regulators had been there to verify the system was working and there wasn’t enough airborne pollution to harm anyone.

His explanation for how this was possible was simple. He told me that cars today — at least the new and late-model BMWs they work on there — just don’t produce enough pollution to necessitate a separate exhaust system.

Maybe instead of Atyieh’s defiant rejection of social responsibility all we need to do is lock a few greenies in a garage with 36 running BMWs.






One response to “It’s OK to suck a tailpipe or yet another moment of Jungian synchronicity”

  1. Z-Mann Avatar

    Nice article but your last point about “Atyieh’s defiant rejection of social responsibility”, go back and read it again. His read is about being responsible but with a sense of balance.

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