Tale of a Bentley that won't be built
We were somewhat surprised to see the picture titled 'Maybach fighter' on Page 1 of your Feb. 1 issue. That picture appeared in various United Kingdom publications last November. Allow me to clarify the situation, to some degree at least.
This not a picture of a prototype or a concept car. It will not be unveiled at the Frankfurt show. Sales will not start in 2000. In fact, the car will never be put into production.
Obviously, someone has been considering our plans for the future, what has been said and not said, and unfortunately 2 plus 2 has been put together to make 5.
We recently announced that Volkswagen has committed £500 million to a new research and development program that would, over the next five years or so, see the introduction of a new Bentley that will increase our annual sales to more than 9,000 motor cars.
I am sorry to have to spoil a good story, but I am sure that you will understand that the last thing we need is for customers to be waiting for a motor car that will never be produced. As to what the car in the picture may be, I can only remind you that we have been very successful throughout our history in producing rare, exclusive and often unique motor cars for our customers around the world, details of which we are naturally unable to divulge.
RICHARD N. CHARLESWORTH
Head of Public Affairs
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd.
Crewe, Cheshire, England
Oil industry says it has done its part
Your Jan. 25 editorial, 'EPA must order the oil industry to reduce sulfur,' which concludes, 'The EPA must order the oil industry to get on with the job,' is completely inaccurate and unfair to our industry's efforts to respond to air-quality needs and new tailpipe emissions standards.
The petroleum refining industry has put forth a cost-effective, common-sense proposal to the EPA to reduce sulfur levels in gasoline by 2004.
The plan was offered as the result of a dialogue with some affected states and the EPA.
Overall, it reduces gasoline sulfur levels by more than half in 28 states, most of which are east of the Mississippi, plus Louisiana, Missouri and eastern Texas. That is where ozone is a real problem.
But air-quality problems are fairly scarce in the West, with the exception of California, which has special fuel and vehicle requirements.
So for the rest of the nation except California, the proposal is also for a significant reduction, but not as much as in the East. Further, the petroleum industry reached out to automakers to participate in a dialogue on this issue, but automakers declined.
Sulfur in gasoline can affect the ability of some emissions control systems to meet more stringent vehicle emissions standards. But Automotive News should know that innovative automakers already have vehicles on the road that can meet such requirements even with today's gasolines.
What EPA must do is find an approach that is based on real environmental need, that is affordable to consumers and that is cost-effective, balancing the need for fuel and vehicle changes.
A stringent national fuel standard based on the needs of California is inconsistent with the air-quality needs of the rest of the nation. A one-size-fits-all approach flunks the common sense test.
WILLIAM F. O'KEEFE
Executive Vice President
American Petroleum Institute