Captain Hybrid
Experts Split on New 54.5MPG Rule

The Center for Automotive Research (CAR) contends that as fuel efficiency rises to very high levels, the benefit to the customer shrinks. At $5 per gallon, for example, a 15,000-mile-a-year driver can save $3,750 on gasoline annually by jumping from 10mpg to 20mpg. But by going from 40mpg to 50mpg, the savings drop to only $375 annually, the curve shows. As consumers reach those limits, CAR says they are likely to keep their current vehicles longer, a phenomenon it refers to as the 'Cuban-ization' of the American auto market.   (Source: Center for Automotive Research)
The Center for Automotive Research (CAR) contends that as fuel efficiency rises to very high levels, the benefit to the customer shrinks. At $5 per gallon, for example, a 15,000-mile-a-year driver can save $3,750 on gasoline annually by jumping from 10mpg to 20mpg. But by going from 40mpg to 50mpg, the savings drop to only $375 annually, the curve shows. As consumers reach those limits, CAR says they are likely to keep their current vehicles longer, a phenomenon it refers to as the "Cuban-ization" of the American auto market.
(Source: Center for Automotive Research)

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Re: Lofty, but worthy goal: at what cost on other aspects?
lcormier   9/13/2012 8:32:24 AM
Amclausen, again, you decry CFLs. As I stated, there is NO CFL mandate. There IS a no tungsten mandate. CFLs will most likely play a smaller part in the near future, with LEDs becoming more economically feasible. I'm sure those are not perfect, either. AS you stated, there are ALWAYS engineering tradeoffs.

You state that you would rather have guaranteed mercury all over, rather than an occaisional bulb breakage?? EVERY tungsten bulb burns more fuel, causing more dependency on foreign oil, more demand for power plants, with many old ones grandfathered in to burn dirty. Constant exposure to mercury is very bad, as it deposits in the brain. The catalytic converteres would not have taken the iarborne lead out of the fumes. So, you would prefer lead in the air too? 

Most assuredly, people will make money from changes. New products, new methods, new mandates to improve our lives. Drill, drill, drill, without any conservation will inevitably lead to problems. More foreeign oil dependency, more environmental damage, eventual run-out, with the accompanying health effects. We should go back to stone age and not improve?

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Re: Diesel and .....Bikes
Beth Stackpole   9/13/2012 7:57:59 AM
Diesel is definitely an underplayed option. My husband just got a diesel SUV and can't stop raving about the difference in gas mileage. He says it's an average boost of around 25% consistently, which is definitely not insignificant.

User Rank
Re: Lofty, but worthy goal: at what cost on other aspects?
Leigh   9/12/2012 7:04:19 PM
While I agree with you on the LeadFree debacle I increasingly see the USA as falling behind.

Fuel Efficiency - Europe has had cars that do this for the last 20 years. Including the C class merc 250CDI with enough power and torque and airbags to put a smile on anyones face.

Metric Imperial - You and two other tiny communist countries are the only holdouts.

Heath System - Most of the western world has good basic free health cover. not this for profit expensive private insurance system of the USA

Light Bulbs - We have used CFL's for a long time and they are great. 1/5th the power. The new phosphors are great and they last much longer than incadescant.

Why be so resistant to change?

Light Sweet crude is getting harder to find, so I would be encouraging any sensible madates for higher fuel consumption.



Ralphy Boy
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Re: Are some of the costs one-time investments?
Ralphy Boy   9/12/2012 6:21:11 PM
Yeah I noticed the low mpg across the board for those guys. They will REALLY need to upgrade that if they want to sell here after the new standard is implemented.

User Rank
Re: Are some of the costs one-time investments?
Rigby5   9/12/2012 6:16:09 PM
No, the new aluminum Rover has not finished production in its new plant yet, so Rover has not received official mpg rating yet.  But it is not hard to double the old mileage since that was so bad.  And they have a new 3 liter diesel and hybrid models now.  They are saying they will achieve 40 mpg.  But neither is likely to be released to the US.

User Rank
Re: Rest of the world gettng 80 mpg
Rigby5   9/12/2012 6:08:26 PM
The original Smart cars prototypes were carbon fiber, but the US regulations forced them to switch to steel.

The 1973 VW nose did deform upon impact, but was easily cut off at the firewall and replaced.  The whole car was modular and easily put back on the road.  The point is that the empty trunk gave plenty of room and time for energy absorption.  It is the sides of the empty trunk that absorb, not the air inside.  And you are entirely wrong to assume VW did not perform intensive crash tests, just because US makers did not back then. 

Aluminum body panels are no harder to make or work on then steel.  In fact they are easier.

The cost of the Rover is from the interior, not from the aluminum frame or body parts.  All cars would benefit from the use of more aluminum, and it would not push the cost up much at all. 

{ ...

Looking to the future, Macmillan said that the Ford P2000 prototype, similar in size and appearance to the popular Taurus model, may help pave the way for the next generation of AIVs.

Alcan helped Ford to produce the P2000, the lightest mid-sized vehicle in the world at just 2,000 lbs. This vehicle represents a radical change in material composition with 735 lb. of aluminum, with stamped sheet being the major product form.

Equipped with a prototype engine, the P2000 can deliver 63 mpg with equal or superior performance to a steel-bodied sedan, including safety. Several such prototypes have been assembled and are being extensively tested. ... }


I think that is pretty conclusive proof that 54 mpg is extremely modest for a fleet average.  We could easily do much better.

User Rank
Re: A cost that may not have been factored in
Rigby5   9/12/2012 5:46:17 PM

I disagree.  There are many ways to meet them as a fleet average.  One is to change the mpg rating to make is based on cargo.  That way pickup trucks would not bring down the fleet average.  And of course selling a high volume of commuter cars would also do it.  And that is not at all hard to do.  It does not mean lowering the demand for new cars, but increasing it.  Smaller and more fuel efficient cars do not cost more, but cost less.  That would not cut into US car sales, but greately increase it as we cut into import sales.

Lets face it, the imports are doing much better, not only in mpg, but in sales.

So this is NOT just an arbitrary government requirement, but the only way to survive and compete with foreign car makers.  We should have done this voluntarily several decades ago.  This is not the first gasoline price hike, and won't be the last. How many times are the US car makers going to ignore gasoline price fluctuations, and how many times are we going to have to keep bailing them out.

Ralphy Boy
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Re: Are some of the costs one-time investments?
Ralphy Boy   9/12/2012 5:22:00 PM
"The new Range Rover shaved off 900 pounds by switching to an aluminum frame and body instead of steel.  They more than doubled their mile per gallon."

You have a link for that doubled mpg claim?

I'm finding 22mpg combined for the Evoque (new model, sales started in Set 2011) as low as 14mpg for some of the other models... 

Nothing higher than the Evoque, which looks to be a class up from the LR2 @ 17 combined...

User Rank
Re: Lofty, but worthy goal: at what cost on other aspects?
Amclaussen   9/12/2012 5:13:16 PM
Dear lcormier, please bear in mind there is a world outside the USA... Take a couple of minutes to check on world-wide banning moves in a lot of countries, (WIKIPEDIA even mentions it is a scheduled phase-out for the USA in 2014!). AFAIK, a sizable part of the world has some kind of CFL use promoting laws or forced exchange programs.

Your  short analysis or statement about mercury from power plants vs mercury from broken CFL's is not fair, but I much prefer the extremely low concentrations of mercury from distant sources than a couple of broken CFL's inside the bedroom of my child. Call me whatever you want, but for me it is clear that this matter has strong economic interests from at least two companies that fabricate CFL's and other lighting devices. One of the two companies that form the Duopoly HAS (at least in Mexico) bribed no less than the president and the former energy secretary (frequently changed as a matter of national sport) in order to promote a disguised "benefit" program for the poor.  But, it has a dark side: In order to receive 4 free CFL's, the recipient has to deliver four tungsten working bulbs, which have to be destroyed in the act.  The thing is that there is a large company benefited with the popular program, they now have secured their production and the ignorant people and its equally ignorant governants happily pay for it.  My position is simple: I don't like stupid, self-promoting politicians dictatating large scale measures that had not been completely analyzed by an unbiased and truly capable technical comitee (if that exists!).

And yes, I'm old enough to remember when the "green" arguments against the low lead level gasolines (capable of notably reducing the lead contents to really low levels) transformed the car and fuel panorama.  In that one, the owners of the precious metals used to fabricate the catalyst were the ones capitalizing on that. At the time we had almost ready a different catalytic converter that was tolerant to those low lead levels, but someone from the top levels assured to stop the development in its tracks and destroy everything related to that project.

I was not saying I'm against fuel economy measures, what I'm against is the way they usually handle it: without proper and solid unbiased studies. Measures like the "MetroBus" in Mexico City, which eliminates a wide lane for exclusive use by it, produce much more contaminants simply because it carries a huge automobile congestion in the same street, and aditionally in many nearby streets, because that "improvement" prohibits many left hand turns; so that the drivers have to drive longer distances, at much reduced effective speeds, in order to favor a comparatively few bus users.  Another "law of unintended consecuences" example, courtesy of dumb politicians of the "green kind".

User Rank
Re: Rest of the world gettng 80 mpg
kingg   9/12/2012 4:31:52 PM
I tried to walk away from this but you continue with incorrect claims or just your opinion. Check it out.  The Smart car shell is made of metal, and body panels are made of plastic.  Not carbon fiber.  I had a 1973 beetle and there wasn't much in the way of front protection.  The noses deformed whenever another car struck it in a minor impact.  As far as safety, they didn't have CAD/CAM Design when the air cooled beetle was around so everything was designed without being able to see the results of a collision, then designing a safer structure.  There weren't crash tests and results then like NHTSA has now, so saying the beetle was safe in a collision is basically moot.  New cars are designed to avoid the engine moving into the passenger compartment, and that the energy is deflected. Manufacturers are aware of insurers' and consumers' demands for safe cars.   If there is supporting data, prove your stement that smaller cars (and what do you consider small, as large cars are now the same size or smaller than the 70's midsize cars) are in less accidents.  Where do you get your information?  Austin Healy and Cobra (4 cylinder cars brought from the U.K. as the AC) were made of aluminum primarily because they weren't built in large quantities and the thin metal was easy to hand form.  Try finding any examples of those cars where all the measurements are identical.   Considering what Land Rovers, etc. cost, I find it fascinating that you say the costs are worth it.  Maybe if you keep the vehicle for 30 years, but rarely does anyone do this.  I don't know anyone that could afford to purchase a new Land Rover, so most must be leased, which is not "owning" the car.  Maybe in the future through economies of scale will you see these materials being used, so steel is the metal of choice that most people can afford.    It hasn't happened yet, and aluminum has been around a very long time.  "Empty" trunks mean nothing but air.  Air can't stop anything. Let's drop this.

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