Looking at our budget, it is clear the budget for the defense department needs to be cut in half. Right now, it is a larger amount in real dollars than what we expended during the cold war!
And there is exactly one reason we have the unaffordable defense department we have today: To defend the stability of world wide oil prices.
Drilling domestically offers no relief (even if you were so ill informed to think we have the natural resources to make it work) because all oil and increasingly, natural gas, is sold at the WORLD MARKET PRICE.
Greater energy efficiency of all kinds, whether in our automobiles or light bulbs, is the ONLY viable means of holding on to the standard of living we are used to living.
Why is all the responsibility being placed upon the manufacturers? What has happened to personal concern & responsibility? In regard to weight - how about if fat people loose some. In regard to saving gas - how about if we walk (instead of driving the car 1/4 mile out of laziness) and do more car-pooling? Those would have benefits far beyond just decreasing gas consumption. Seems like we are losing personal responsibility and letting the government be our parents.
Disagree - - What is the fascination with regulating everyone elses life. If someone wants to drive 80 miles to work, why is it anyone's business to stop them. What's with punishing someone because of where they live. Seems like our basic freedoms have lost their value for some people.
This is exactly the problem that many rational people have when it come to government regulation and policy. Who says that you or anyone else should tell me or anyone else for that matter, what they "need" to commute to work, go visit Grandam , or whatever. It is a major turn-off, and the reaction is often negative, when it does not need to be so. A major problem with this MPG debate is that the focus is to "force" technology with artificial means (government subsidies, tax incentives, etc, etc.). Yes, there is the need for goals, but as the article says, at what price?
The natural "bridge" in automotive technology is obvious... the hybrid. There must be the goal primarily of getting costs down to the point where the average person CAN afford to go that route. Adapt the hybrid concept to the wider range of vehicle types and sizes, foster a "manhatten project" push to advance the power storage limitations, and get the bogus political influences and politically-correct notions out of way.
It's completely wrong and I'd say insane. People in the United States have to have freedom to buy cars they like. If our government wants us to drive tiny cars then it has to raise gas prices and explain why it has to be done.
The remarks in the article concerning possible materials are as interesting for the properties not discussed, as they may be for the costs included.
Take magnesium - as far away as possible from popular use on our roads, please! Not only is the supply limited, but it is an extremely flammable material which is very hard to suppress until totally consumed. It also burns hot enough to compromise nearby materials.
Carbon fiber? Great stuff for race cars. Yes, magnesium is still lighter, but harder to work with for that purpose, and there's that "fire thing" again. However for street use carbon composites can be very brittle and create very sharp edges when damaged. Yes, they burn too, but that can be reduced somewhat by resin selection.
Plastics have potential, but need to be selected carefully as weight can become an issue and chemical content (limitations thereto for fire safety) may increase cost.
Aluminum isn't a bad choice, but needs to be used in thicker gauges to offer equivalent strength, and bonding system choices are more limited due to greater intermetallic corrosion potential.
The new high-strength steels can be utilized in the thinnest sections and thus save weight, and have good corrosion resistance as well as about the lowest base cost, thus still a good choice. (no, I have no dogs in that fight, but do drive a car using that material for its skin)
Agree that someone driving an SUV or other large vehicle should not complain about fuel efficiency. However, I disagree that "smaller is better". How about saying that Freedom is Better.
Let car companies freely choose which size cars they will bring to market - and let them reap the rewards or suffer the consequences of their decisions.
Let people freely choose which size car they want to drive and live with the simple consequences of paying more per mile in fuel costs for a large vehicle or accepting a safety trade-off to drive a smaller, lighter vehicle.
I prefer having freedom of choice for my vehicle purchase rather than having some government bureaucrat twisting the knobs and trying to force us all into vehicles that may not fit our individual situations.
Maybe you all are highly paid and living in an area with a low cost of living... But all this does is force many people in this country into not being able to afford transportation. About like the "Cash for Clunkers" program which took fairly modern used cars off the road and ignored the real clunkers and made a new car more affordable for those who could already afford a new car. And the Feds are putting pressure on the present power generation system because of "polution", so will it be able to support an influx of electric vehicles, if and when they become available? Or will the law of supply and demand cause the cost of electricity to skyrocket because of the invcreased demand making those vehicles even more expensive? ANd your 54MPG car probably won't be able to be driven in the rain, or if there is snow on the ground and will be very uncomfortable under 40 Degrees F. As is, we already have some of those vehicles on the road, they are called MOTORCYCLES.
It is also interesting that US law doesn't allow the diesel Smart Car to be sold here even though it already gets 50 miles plus per gallon. Not that I wish to drive one of them, I can't imagine being passed by a larger vehicle on a windy day with that short wheel base and light weight...
It would be interesting to find out all the places in the country that used to have trolley systems that were taken out. I grew up in Western NY and at one time the trolley ran from Buffalo NY to Erie PA with a number of other systems branching off, like from Westfield NY to Jamestown NY. The railroads still exist in places, but it seems that, other than on the east cost, the hours when they run the long ditance trains are designed to be as inconveient as possible - i.e. you catch the train at midnight... And then, when we build a train or trolley system it seems that it is built for show rather than for utility. We need to build these sytems for usability. And then there is the system they want in California which is projected to never pay for itself, and they are already broke...
In 2010 my daughter had bought a Audi A4, quattro, manual trans which delivered somewhere in the mid 20's mpg. On a trip to Europe I noticed an add for essentially the same care that stated their version of the cars deliver 62 mpg. I brought it home to show her. I think the Audi, at least, has the ability to deliver to whatever spec is set by looking into their bag of tricks. Moaning is what the companies like to do and telling us that the improvements can come at an enormous price to put us off. Emissioms, can never do it, but now most cars deliver cleaner air out than what goes in, safety impossible but deaths are down due to air bags and structural improvements.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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