I believe there are plenty of 50 MPG plus cars being built already. They are in accross the sea in Europe right now. When I was in Germany tow years ago, one of the things I noticed first was that most vehicles were diesel powered.
In Europe diesel is priced consistantly lower than gasoline . Or course it still cost 4.50 Euros a gallon. I rented a car you cannot buy in America. An Audi A4 station wagon TDI. This vehicle impressed me. It had lots of power as it was able to cruise down the Autobahns at 120 miles per hour. (The Mercury Grand Marqui taxis cabs which were also diesels passed me like I was standing still)
While I was attaining this speed, this vehicle maintained 61 MPG. I am sure if you drove this vehicle at our meteroic highway speeds the MPG would be much greater. I drove this vehicle from Frankfort to southern Germany spend a week and when I returned the car to the Frankfort airport it still had more than half a tank.
No. There are no engineering problems making cars that get excellent gas mileage. Its just having to deal with the politics of being able to buy them here.
My third geneation prius (2010) is barely broken in at 2800 miles and the last two tankfuls have been at 54.5 and 56.9 mpg respectively. Pretty much says we are already there. I don't expect to be able to get that performance in winter driving when the gasoline blend is changed, but then fuel economy measuring is assumed to be in ideal conditions, no?
The quickest and best way to increase CAFE is to raise the price of gasoline through a tax/gallon increase of about a dollar per gallon. Also personal vehicles over, say, 4500 pounds should pay an extra couple of hundred dollars at registration time.
I do not understand why the conservationists and regulators bypass this obvious fact.
55?! We're essentially there already. My second-generation Prius already gets about 46-52MPG (and I mean real and sustained, not just under artificial or lucky circumstances), and the third-generation Prius tops that by about 5MPG.
I yawn at you, 55MPG; 100 is the next real target.
How to get 50+ mpg? It seems obvious, and has been discussed ad nauseum. I get 80+ mpg, but the cost is do no better than 55 mph and having a carrying capacity of 50 lb more than I weigh. On two wheels. (Reasons: Light weight, lower rolling resistance, small frontal area [Smart car: are you listening?], low speed, run most of the time in the effective power band, etc. Possible improvements: even smaller area, skin enclosure for better drag coefficient.)
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