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Monday, April 17, 2017

If you care about the environment, don't waste your time at New York Auto Show

BAD NEWS FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: Four big SUVs, including a 707-horsepower Jeep, upper left, made their "world debut" at the 2017 New York International Auto Show in Manhattan.



If you're trying to reduce your carbon footprint, run -- don't walk -- as far away as you can from the auto show that opened last week at the Javits Center in Manhattan.

Only one all-electric car, Honda's Clarity, debuted, with a disappointing 80 miles of range on a full charge -- this from the Japanese company that brought the first gas-electric hybrid to the United States in 1999.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV, which is available in many states, and the Tesla Model 3 that will go on sale this year both have more than 200 miles of range on a full charge.

Other automakers continue to challenge each other in an irresponsible horsepower race.

New models include a 707-horsepower Jeep SUV and a 505-horsepower Alfa Romeo sports sedan, both from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Unfortunately, in America, FIAT has never lost the reputation of standing for "Fix It Again, Tony."

Press preview

I had credentials to attend the two-day press preview at the Javits Center last Wednesday and Thursday, but skipped it.

The press preview gives automakers and the dealers who sponsor the show the opportunity to entertain and feed U.S. and foreign auto writers at parties and press conferences.

At past press previews, the company line goes unchallenged, and many writers and reporters are mindful of the millions of dollars in ad revenue their publications, TV stations and other media outlets get every year from automakers and dealers.

Here is my report from the first press day at the 2016 New York International Auto Show:

$180B for ads

At an auto show marketing conference last week, executives said more than $180 billion will be spent on auto advertising this year.

Anyone who watches TV is familiar with all of those annoying commercials filmed on empty roads or race courses, showing noisy gasoline-engine cars speeding and getting thrown into lurid slides.

They are little comfort to drivers who find themselves caught in the New Jersey-New York region's increasing traffic congestion and air pollution.