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Discussion Starter #1
I had a look at the new M-class and found the front console to a be a big step down from what I have now. Just the two huge gaping cup holders and the big purse storage area that screams out "this is a soccer mom's car"! The grab bars are just a lame attempt to insert some masculinity back into the picture and the use of plastic instead of wood surfacing is pitiful.

Also, the gas mileage is very disappointing in the W164. The V6 EPA estimates are the same as what I get in my ML430 V8. What happened with the conversion to a unibodied structure? The vehicle weight came out about the same as before with the truck chassis. Three dollars per gallon of gas will become a reality soon here in the USA.

DelJ
 

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gas over $3/gal in Kalifornia already

They have much higher state taxes and some pumps have hit $4 out there already :)

In Boston, it's still $2.40/gal...

I've been waiting for the diesel engine in the W164 for a while, but can't say I like the entire package...
 

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RE: Mileage

DelJ - 4/6/2005 8:31 AM

I had a look at the new M-class and found the front console to a be a big step down from what I have now. Just the two huge gaping cup holders and the big purse storage area that screams out "this is a soccer mom's car"! The grab bars are just a lame attempt to insert some masculinity back into the picture and the use of plastic instead of wood surfacing is pitiful.
You can retrofit the euro console with storage compartments, but you lose the cupholders. I wish the cupholders had covers. Wood is avalable in either the Trim or Premium Package.
Also, the gas mileage is very disappointing in the W164. The V6 EPA estimates are the same as what I get in my ML430 V8. What happened with the conversion to a unibodied structure? The vehicle weight came out about the same as before with the truck chassis. Three dollars per gallon of gas will become a reality soon here in the USA.
DelJ
While the mileage is better than the last ML350, you're right that it is about the same as the ML430, though so is horsepower and weight. Hopefully, real world highway mileage will improve because of the aerodynamics improvements. The diesel(s) can't get here soon enough. Weight is down about 200 lb. from last year, despite the large size.
 

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Cupholders - we hide'em!

Hi,

The main difference between the US and the EU versions of the W164 (and the W251 for that matter) center consoles is that your cupholders are bigger, and out in the open. We also get them, but they're hidden away under a flip-up cover.

Birger
 

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Discussion Starter #5
RE: gas over $3/gal in Kalifornia already

California's state gas tax rate is actually about average:

http://www.taxfoundation.org/variousrates.html

Our higher gas prices are from the suppliers, not from the state government. We are currently paying $2.65 or so for premium gas.

DelJ




kenyee - 4/6/2005 8:49 AM

They have much higher state taxes and some pumps have hit $4 out there already :)

In Boston, it's still $2.40/gal...
 

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The consol is a problem I am having also. Wonder if its possible to order the Euro consol in a US delivery W164?? Re gas, just filled up with 93 octane today paid 2.259.
 

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RE: Cupholders - we hide'em!

Birger - 4/6/2005 10:05 AM

Hi,

The main difference between the US and the EU versions of the W164 (and the W251 for that matter) center consoles is that your cupholders are bigger, and out in the open. We also get them, but they're hidden away under a flip-up cover.

Birger
Okay--that's what's under those covers! I don't need the liter size, so may retrofit the euro version. the open wells are nice for your cell phone and sunglasses, though.
 

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RE: gas over $3/gal in Kalifornia already

DelJ - 4/6/2005 9:03 PM

California's state gas tax rate is actually about average:

http://www.taxfoundation.org/variousrates.html

Our higher gas prices are from the suppliers, not from the state government. We are currently paying $2.65 or so for premium gas.

DelJ
I paid $2.71/gallon on Tuesday and last week I saw prices around $3/gallon in San Francisco. Sales tax in the Bay Area ranges from 8.25% to 8.75% to fund various highway projects, which should actually have been funded by the statewide gasoline tax, and to subsidize mass transit (buses, BART, Caltrain, ferries, etc.) and not the nominal state rate of 6.25%.

The oil companies are no saints and often exploit the lack of competition in certain markets, such as San Francisco, to charge higher prices. However, the main reason gasoline in California is so expensive is supply and demand. We have a unique gasoline formulation that is only made by the refineries in California because the state environmental authorities dictated it. These are the same authorities that forced MTBE on drivers and only eliminated the mandate after several years of proof that the carcinogen was contaminating ground water. It has been several decades since a new refinery has been built in California, and for that matter anywhere in the USA. When supplies are tight, prices will be higher. For those who think prices are high in California today, the impact of a refinery accident, as recently occurred in Texas, could cause prices to increase by as much as $2/gallon.

There is no logical reason for the unique gasoline formulation that may reduce air pollution by a fraction of one percent. Having a uniform gasoline formulation throughout the country, or a least through large sections, would help to increase supply and minimize price increases. Unfortunately, common sense and concern about the economic impacts of regulations on ordinary citizens is not usually a high priority for regulatory bureaucrats.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
RE: gas over $3/gal in Kalifornia already

High prices in California are perhaps 20% due to the formulation and 80% due to the suppliers. You and I have seen huge price discrepancies within the state, with prices much higher in san Francisco and San Diego than in other areas, which logically can't have anything to do with California policies as a whole. This is strictly market control by the suppliers.

I strongly disagree with your position on cleaner fuels. Bad air is bad news, and it is definitely worthwhile to pay a bit more to live longer and healthier lives. The air quality in California has improved tremendously, especially when one factors in the increased population, since I was young. I remember when my lungs would hurt on smoggy days in LA. It is your type of thinking that is preventing us from having clean diesel fuels as well.

DelJ





Orlando - 4/6/2005 12:09 AM

However, the main reason gasoline in California is so expensive is supply and demand. We have a unique gasoline formulation that is only made by the refineries in California because the state environmental authorities dictated it.

There is no logical reason for the unique gasoline formulation that may reduce air pollution by a fraction of one percent.
 

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varies by city here as well

Some cities charge less, some more. I don't know if there's a local city tax as well or whether suppliers just know which places to gouge. I suspect it's a city tax though since it's fairly consistently priced in a particular city...
 

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RE: varies by city here as well

Local fuel prices also have a lot to do with what it costs for delivery. Inner city fuel prices will always be higher because of the greater difficulty required to get tankers there (traffic delays, weight restrictions, etc.) Rural stations far off the beaten path can also be more expensive because of having to travel further. The cheapest stations are usually those that aren’t right on a major highway or Interstate (as those will gouge the travelers), but the ones found on local routes, with convenience stores frequented by locals.

- RODNEY
 

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RE: gas over $3/gal in Kalifornia already

DelJ - 4/7/2005 11:39 AM

High prices in California are perhaps 20% due to the formulation and 80% due to the suppliers. You and I have seen huge price discrepancies within the state, with prices much higher in san Francisco and San Diego than in other areas, which logically can't have anything to do with California policies as a whole. This is strictly market control by the suppliers.

I strongly disagree with your position on cleaner fuels. Bad air is bad news, and it is definitely worthwhile to pay a bit more to live longer and healthier lives. The air quality in California has improved tremendously, especially when one factors in the increased population, since I was young. I remember when my lungs would hurt on smoggy days in LA. It is your type of thinking that is preventing us from having clean diesel fuels as well.

DelJ


Orlando - 4/6/2005 12:09 AM

However, the main reason gasoline in California is so expensive is supply and demand. We have a unique gasoline formulation that is only made by the refineries in California because the state environmental authorities dictated it.

There is no logical reason for the unique gasoline formulation that may reduce air pollution by a fraction of one percent.
I would ask you to please read carefully what I said and not react emotionally to what it appears I may have said. I clearly said that the oil companies, or the retailers, take advantage of certain locations. The lack of competition definitely affects prices and if you cannot build new refineries in the state in a reasonable manner, and you cannot import gasoline from any other area in the country, you will not have any competition that might keep prices competitive with the rest of the country. For example, the gas prices at a company owned store less than 1 mile from Chevron's headquarters is usually 5 cents more than at another Chevron station 3 miles down the freeway. In the Central Valley gasoline is usually less expensive, even though it is farther from the refineries, than the Bay Area. San Francisco is San Francisco and it is best to leave it at that.

I never said that I would consider dirty air acceptable. I said that some of these regulations MAY IMPROVE air quality by LESS THAN 1%, which cannot be detected. Is a 20% increase worth 0.01% improvement in something? A good friend is an environmetal consultant and another good friend used to run the environmental lab at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Both of them say that some regulations are beneficial but other regulations do not do anything to improve the envirionment yet have significant costs. Many of these regulations are written by unacountable bureaucrats with personal agendas and absolutely zero common sense. Can you make a case for MTBE, which increased the price you paid at the pump by several cents, decreased your mileage by 10% which increased greenhouse gases and contaminated the ground water? It took several years after incontrovertible evidence was avaiable to have this poison removed from the gasoline. The Bush administration then pushed ethanol on us as a political payoff to Archer-Midland and the corn lobby. There were other ways to achieve "clean burning" gasoline, but they could not be done because the federal regulators would not allow them.

Nobody is either good or bad by definition. The oil companies do some good things and some bad things. The regulatory bodies do some good things and some bad things. However, the least accountable sector of our society are the unelected bureacrats and unless you are well informed with all the details, it is best to not have blind faith on what they claim. Skepticism, as well as clean air, is healthy. Competition and good information are the best way to make good decisions.
 

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RE: varies by city here as well

Certainly delivery difficulties can affect fuel prices. Now let's figure-- If I deliver 10,000 gallons of fuel to a particular station - - and that station charges a 40 cent markup because they are in an harder to reach area versus an easier to reach area - - then does that mean the station in the harder to reach area had to pay the truck driver $4,000 more to have the load delivered as compared to the easier to reach area?
 

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RE: Cupholders - we hide'em!

GregW / Oregon - 4/6/2005 10:34 PM

Birger - 4/6/2005 10:05 AM

Hi,

The main difference between the US and the EU versions of the W164 (and the W251 for that matter) center consoles is that your cupholders are bigger, and out in the open. We also get them, but they're hidden away under a flip-up cover.

Birger
Okay--that's what's under those covers! I don't need the liter size, so may retrofit the euro version. the open wells are nice for your cell phone and sunglasses, though.
I have just asked my dealer to find out if I can get the vehicle with the euro consol from the factory. He mentioned that many of his clients have expressed displeasure with the US consol and several have even cancelled orders!!
 

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RE: Cupholders - we hide'em!

I have just asked my dealer to find out if I can get the vehicle with the euro consol from the factory. He mentioned that many of his clients have expressed displeasure with the US consol and several have even cancelled orders!!
Why that is not a surprise .. They have to be discreet more than this.

I can think of few other nicer looking utilisations for that wasted space, and it is not hard to have 'magically-appeared' holders, like the ones I have as vertical strips in dash, you push and the holder comes out and turns to horizontal.
 

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RE: varies by city here as well

Certainly delivery difficulties can affect fuel prices. Now let's figure-- If I deliver 10,000 gallons of fuel to a particular station - - and that station charges a 40 cent markup because they are in an harder to reach area versus an easier to reach area - - then does that mean the station in the harder to reach area had to pay the truck driver $4,000 more to have the load delivered as compared to the easier to reach area?
First of all, I have not seen a 40-cent difference in prices within the same tax district, but then again, I’m, not saying it does not exist. Where I live, the price differences are about $0.10 per gallon at the most, unless you consider places like Costco and Sam’s Club that tend to be at least $0.10 less than the least expensive stations in my area.

To answer the question (and I actually have some knowledge of this), the driver does not make that money, but the trucking company will. It will go to pay for their fuel costs, their taxes (including fuel taxes, which are extremely complex and expensive when it comes to commercial shipping), the time they lose because their driver and equipment sat in traffic instead of being able to make another delivery, and even higher insurance costs because of the historically greater number of claims that are encountered because of deliveries to these areas.

It may not be worth $4,000 per load, or even $2,000 per load, but there is a cost difference. Factor in the higher property costs, the higher cost of labor, and you do have a reason for higher prices. Of course sometimes there is a bit of price gouging for the “convenience� factor. I don’t go out of my way to buy cheaper gas, but I do plan my driving so that I am “voting with my dollars� and buying from a less expensive station.

Interestingly enough, two of the typically lowest priced stations are a few blocks from my house. On one side of the two-lane highway is a Chevron, on the other, an Exxon. They are normally the exact same price, but every now and the, and it’s usually the Exxon, one will lower his price a few cents. Even so, I still see plenty of cars at the higher-priced station. Maybe these people have credit cards with that company, or maybe they have something personally against the other company, but I find it very odd that given a choice on a commodity item, customers would choose to pay more. Oh, and it’s no like it would be a problem making a left-hand turn as there is a traffic light at the intersection.

- RODNEY
 

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Discussion Starter #17
RE: varies by city here as well

I have seen fuel prices that were significantly lower in Big Bear City than in San Diego. Big Bear is a small mountain town where the fuel trucks have to drive 7000+ feet (in elevation) up a winding road and battle snowy winter conditions, whereas San Diego is an easy freeway drive from the Long Beach refineries. This has nothing to do with downtown traffic conditions as our downtown prices are the same as in the suburbs. Legitimate distribution costs are actually very small and have little effect on the pump price.

DelJ




rudeney - 4/7/2005 1:49 PM

Local fuel prices also have a lot to do with what it costs for delivery. Inner city fuel prices will always be higher because of the greater difficulty required to get tankers there (traffic delays, weight restrictions, etc.)

- RODNEY
 

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Discussion Starter #18
RE: gas over $3/gal in Kalifornia already

Your arguments are similar to those who were opposed to catalytic converters and unleaded gas. I remember all those dire predictions of how leaded gas doesn't really hurt anything and how catalytic converters would be the end of high performance engines. Just because MTBE had some unforeseen side effects does not mean that it is not worthwhile to VIGOROUSLY pursue cleaner emissions. Go visit Mexico City on a hot smoggy day if you have any doubts about the value of emmission controls.

BTW, your numbers are changing by orders of magnitude. Was it a 1% benefit or a 0.01% benefit? The truth is that new cars are 90%+ cleaner than older cars.

DelJ




Orlando - 4/7/2005 12:39 AM


I never said that I would consider dirty air acceptable. I said that some of these regulations MAY IMPROVE air quality by LESS THAN 1%, which cannot be detected. Is a 20% increase worth 0.01% improvement in something?
 
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