Yeah, but did you ever RIDE in or DRIVE a Diesel Rabbit? I did. They were total pieces of crap. Dangerous, underpowered, ugly, uncomfortable, etc.
It should be abundantly obvious the continued production, popularity and evolution of 35k+ 300+hp sport coupes and sedans as the fat part of the bat for profitable automobile production tells you what the consumer wants.It is a wonderful side effect that this new generation of powerful and efficient sport coupes are (mostly) very fuel efficient whilst retaining impressive performance in other areas.
If you want to push your oilless religion, so be it...but quit characterizing anyone who disagrees with your faith as part of a devil worshipping cabal of big businessmen. There are no "fatcats in a smoke filled room, cackling as they pull strings for puppet politicians", and anyone who believes that has been watching too many network sitcoms and A&E "documentaries" on mermaid civilizations being hidden by the CIA.
Consumers are not automatons...they are (by and large) not big babies, and they don't need a suger titty from the government regulators to keep them quiet and pacified. Most of all, quit bashing the manufacturers when they wonderfully respond to what consumers want by producing vastly better examples of automotive excellence than the 1982 Rabbit Diesel!
General Comments - good post. The diesel rabbit got 55MPG in 1982. Are the so called experts saying we can't meet this standard because we are going backwards technologically. Perhaps they have interests political, business or affiliations that lead them in a direction wanting to follow our gas-guzzling past. It's difficult to separate truth from fiction when there are so many special interests involved.
Gillis is from the Consumer Federation of America, citing an unnamed National Consumer Expert, making a statement without showing provable facts. Check the website. They are interested in many diverse issues, ranging from hurricanes to the USDA. That doesn't make them automotive experts, and they just seem to be repeating what was told to them by the National Consumer Expert, No research done on their part, so yes, I do question Mr. Gillis, who is the Director of Public Affairs. If the government mandates a number, and someone who believes themselves to have better knowledge contradicts that data, I want to know their basis, so I'll have an explanation for what I see in print and in dealerships. If the government mandated numbers are not to be trusted or are incorrect, why are we wasting our time?
The cost savings associated with better mileage is not merely what we save at the pump, but associated environmental costs (global warming associated issues), health costs (from pollution), and energy security costs (going to war to assure we can fill our tanks). A comprehensive cost benefit analysis would account for all the factors to include individual and societal costs which we pay for directly or indirectly. We, as a nation, have, at least temporarily decided it's in our best interest to reduce the amount of petroleum products that we consume. Part of that equation is increasing our automotive fuel economy.
The idea that people will hang on to their cars longer to avoid the additional cost for mileage improvements in newer cars and thereby put people manufacturing cars out of work seems a bit contrived. By that logic we should only have crappy cars that last a month, and have to buy a new car every month. We could put millions of people to work manufacturing cars, towing cars, disposing of/recycling cars, and mining the raw materials to manufacture cars etc. Inefficiency to achieve employment harkens back to the old Soviet system. They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work. As far as paying for our highways, whether that comes as part of a gas tax, sales tax, mileage tax, GVW tax or some combination, we all benefit from the highways whether we drive/commute or not, and we need to pay for their efficient construction and maintenance. Why would we complain about the need for a different method of generating that revenue should a previous source become inadequate.
The idea that it's very expensive or difficult (from an engineering standpoint) to achieve 55 mpg is baloney. The Volkswagen L1 concept vehicle gets more than 200 mpg, and has since 2001, without regenerative braking or turbocharging. While not practical as commuter vehicles, the winners of the Shell ECO Challenge are exceeding 8000 mpg and provide a variety of applicable techniques for improving mileage. My old 1982 diesel Suburban (6.2L) got 25 to 27 (max 30) on the highway and 22 around town, consistently, without right sizing the engine, water injection, turbocharging, fluid dynamic optimization, or regenerative braking. And, sadly, most drivers could get a 20% increase in mileage just by changing their driving habits, and don't. We're in the pickle we're in because we have tended historically to buy large (heavy) powerful (arguably overpowered) vehicles that generally rely on the Carnot cycle. The Carnot cycle engine is most efficient at wide open throttle (WOT). So we idle around town, one person to a vehicle, operating our engines primarily in their least efficient mode, paying the fuel overhead for engines capable of putting out an unneeded 300+ horsepower and quote "experts" telling us that achieving 55 mpg is going to make our cars too expensive. Detroit makes most of their profits from luxury vehicles. I suspect the real issue is that Detroit is worried they'll find themselves selling a lot of high mileage commuter vehicles that they can't make as much profit on.
SORRY, but I MUST disagree with you on one point ..... BLUETOOTH, etal. ARE optional capabilities that one does NOT have to purchase when buying a vehicle for transportation. I certainly would never consider all these "amenities" in my vehicle purchase plans, over and above a standard AM-FM radio. I am in my vehicle to transport myself (and passengers!) from point A to point B, and beyond. IF I want entertainment, then I'll go to a show or the movie theatre, etc. It's evident that with so many of these modern electronic portable marvels that we as a society are becoming MORE distracted during vehicle operation than at any time in the past. In my daily commute, I see so many people driving up & down the highway (at speed!) with one hand on the steering wheel, and one hand on the smartphone, pushing the keys. Without sounding sexist, it is my observation that the majority of these "offenders" are young women, sometimes with youngsters in the vehicle also. That IS a recipe for disaster!!!
I read this. The article did not explain how they came up with what I consider a large gap. Approximately 20%. Frankly, unnamed "Consumer advocates" immediately makes me skeptical. Anyone can call themselves a Consumer advocate. Years ago the old CAFE standards weren't very accurate, and the new standards (within the last few years) are supposed to be better, yet still not perfect. I seriously question this 9.5 mpg difference, especially when it pertains to a government mandate. I expect that if the government states 54.5 mpg, then they expect that number to be attained in some manner.
"Consumer advocates said the 54.5mpg number is not as daunting as it seems, however. That figure is not the same as the EPA sticker number on every vehicle, since the two are calculated differently, Gillis said. He pointed out that the 54.5mpg number translates to 45mpg on an EPA sticker. "So when you think of the fact that the goal in EPA numbers is 45, it becomes clear that it is very achievable," he said."
amclaussen, why don't you investigate further. There is NO mandate to use CFLs. The mandate is to get more efficient bulbs. CFLs was a first attempt. LED are the next step. YES, there is mercury in the CFLs - much less mercury than is spewed into the air by power plants supporting the power needs of incandescents. And, there is much less than other bulbs (why aren't you complaining about T12s, with 10X the amount of mercury thatn a CFL??)
You may not remember(or old enough) the clamor caused by eliminating lead in gasoline. Lead was a component added to gas to prevent preignition. It was causing real problems to our environment. We now do not line the sides of roads with lead particles.
Your argument is another "all or nothing" argument, then state you, as an engineer "would be more than happy to see true advancements, perhaps to a more realistic" number. You can't have it both ways.
There are many shades of gray in the middle, and people (especially engineers that understand tradeoffs) should understand that. The premise of the article was NOT to eliminate MPG mandates, but to highlight that the mandate may be too high - the old 80/20 rule, so to speak.
California State University, Chico was the first school in California to offer an ABET-accredited degree program in mechatronic engineering. Now its California Mechatronics Center works with industry on machinery, robotics, and surveillance vehicles.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.