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Government Hardware Science Technology

How We'll Get To 54.5 Mpg By 2025 717

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-the-tires dept.
concealment writes "At the end of August this year, the US Department of Transport's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new standards to significantly improve the fuel economy of cars and light trucks by 2025. Last week, we took a look at a range of recent engine technologies that car companies have been deploying in aid of better fuel efficiency today. But what about the cars of tomorrow, or next week? What do Detroit, or Stuttgart, or Tokyo have waiting in the wings that will get to the Obama administration's target of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025?"
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How We'll Get To 54.5 Mpg By 2025

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @10:14AM (#41585541)

    For produces the 3 cylinder turbo direct inject engine here in America. But due to tax regulations and big oil with their hand in every pot of the USA they are not allowed to sell them in the USA. Many German cars in there diesel versions in Europe can exceed the 60MPG mark due the necessity of their higher fuel prices than the US.

  • Re:the easiest way (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sez Zero (586611) on Monday October 08, 2012 @10:22AM (#41585647) Journal

    Start importing cars made for the european market. We have loads of those cars here. [autoblog.com]

    Pretty much this. Later this year VW will release a 73 mpg Golf [autoblog.com]. They'll sell a lot of those, which will make room under the corporate umbrella for a whole bunch of 30 mpg cars.

  • by SecurityGuy (217807) on Monday October 08, 2012 @10:25AM (#41585693)

    Spot on. I half intended to make a sarcastic post about how all we need is to get everyone to be willing to drive a plastic car with a 40 hp engine, but truly for a lot of people including me, a small (but safe) car is sufficient.

    I actually sold cars briefly. One customer who stuck in my mind was a little old lady who really wanted an 8 cylinder engine. This was about 1990. She might have settled for a 6, but a 4 was no sale, no way. Blew my mind. My own 4 cylinder car sitting in the parking lot, barely out of econo-box class, would do 120 mph. What the hell did she think she needed an 8 cylinder engine for?!? She would not be swayed. A lot of us, me included, are not so different from that old lady.

  • Autonomous Cars (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Konowl (223655) on Monday October 08, 2012 @10:30AM (#41585757)

    The answer to better mpg, traffic shaping, less accidents is - as much as I hate to say it - is autonomous cars.

    They can drive at the best measured MPG zone, they don't get distracted, they have faster response times than human drivers. They don't hit the gas pedal stopping you from merging onto the highway or changing lanes, they don't pass illegally or drive recklessly. Numerous studies have shown that traffic jams are simply caused by people following too closely.

    I don't know for sure, but I really think the next evolution of vehicle transport will be autonomous.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @10:33AM (#41585797)

    Our emission standards are flawed. They calculate emissions per gallon, but need to calculate the emissions per mile.

  • Re:Mitt Romney (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @10:40AM (#41585927)

    Yeah 'mittens' has no clue about how a car company should work. OH thats right his dad pioneered the fuel economy wave at AMC... Then got eaten alive by toyota and datsun in cost.

    BTW just stop with the derogatory remarks. Ok you dont like the guy. But name calling already (mittens? really?)? What are you in grade school? I call out both sides when the do this btw...

    Unfortunately Obama did not try for bipartisanship (like he said he would). Then instead went for 'do it my way or its not bipartisan'. What a wasted opportunity.

    Too much f-ng cheerleading and not enough 'lets fix this'. Your 'mittens' remark does not help any more than 'obummer' does.

    Both sides have good points. Both sides unfortunately have taken a 'we vs they' mentality. You are playing into it and it does not help. Stop being a cheerleader. Want to evoke real 'change' in our nation? Stop doing that one thing. Call out everyone who does it. It lets the people in charge divide you into small manageable groups of 'special interests'. It lets people who want to pass legislation dictate who to 'sell' it to. Instead of having to get past all of us we manage to let small tiny groups screw us all...

  • by CdBee (742846) on Monday October 08, 2012 @10:42AM (#41585961)
    I run a 2.0 litre 4-cyl Volvo V40 compact estate (station wagon), which is now 11 years old. Over my last 10,000 miles I have had an average fuel economy (brim to brim method) of 37.5mpg - in imperial gallons. So you might say my technologically crude car is pretty close and a little improvement such as start-stop, higher final gearing ratios, low-rolling-resistance tyres, maybe a mild hybrid system, and use of aluminium instead of steel for structures might get it there

    BUT: That's about 31.2mpg in US gallons. I wonder how many Brits are reading this, thinking 'My diesel car does better than that' - and not realising that actually the Americans have set themselves a bar thats 20% higher than it appears to us as their gallons are smaller - 65mpg in fact.

    A handful of cars do manage that - VW's Bluemotion range for instance, and equivalents from other makers. But a Prius doesn't and my Volvo never will (I'm planning to convert it to LPG instead)....
  • by geoskd (321194) on Monday October 08, 2012 @10:45AM (#41585999)

    You speak with a certain amount of sarcasm, but the laws actually have an interesting effect, and do affect the gas mileage.

    The way it works is this. Each company must keeps its CAFE above the legal limit. To do this, they may not (by law) sell cars that are below the CAFE if their corporate average is currently below the CAFE. So, that means that Ford cant sell trucks because they are below the limit, but can sell Fusions and Focus'. Then when they sell enough of the little jobs, and their average comes up a little, then they can sell a few SUVs. The end result is that law of supply and demand will drive the cost of those SUVs through he roof, but the little econ o-box will get cheaper and cheaper. In fact, car companies may be willing to take a small loss on the econ o-box just so it can sell one high margin SUV. For the average citizen, it will make the gas-guzzlers financially out of reach, which is the way it should be.

    I know a guy who bought a pickup truck (16 MPG), and drives it 40 miles a day commute because he can only afford the one vehicle. He got the truck because twice a year he uses it to haul yard materials home from the garden store... I suggested he could just rent a u haul, but he said he didn't want to spend the $100 bucks for a u haul... Just goes to show that most Americans have the financial savvy of a 10 year old.

    -=Geoskd

  • by Solandri (704621) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:09AM (#41586367)
    Yeah, the problem is getting people to actually buy the high-mileage cars. Here's U.S. car and light truck sales data since 1931 [wardsauto.com]. Light trucks are a separate category under CAFE, and don't have to get as high MPG. Consequently they can be built bigger (relatively) and with more powerful engines. From 1931 to the 1970s (when CAFE was first implemented), light truck sales represented about 15%-20% of passenger vehicle sales. Since CAFE was implemented, light truck sales have climbed to over 50%.

    People in general want the big, powerful "cars" and don't care if they get crappy mileage. Forcing the manufacturers to improve mileage isn't going to change that. It makes me think CAFE is partially based on the conspiracy theory that automakers could make 100 MPG cars, but are all in cahoots with oil companies to keep mileage low. That simply isn't the case - consumers are the ones favoring low mileage cars because of the advantages they offer: extra space, extra safety, more power.

    If you want to encourage increased average vehicle mileage, this supply-side market manipulation just doesn't work that well. It needs to be done via demand-side market manipulation. Jack up fuel taxes to make gasoline more expensive. Then people will start to favor fuel economy more over size, safety, and power.
  • by mordred99 (895063) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:25AM (#41586559)

    I am sorry - but this is not true. Why is it that if I want to purchase a diesel from VW, Mercedes, or BMW, and do the European pickup (where you pay $3k, they fly you to the factory, you drive the car for a week, and then they ship it to the US for you), you have to SPECIFICALLY get the US emissions, which is $3-5k more than the European standards? You have to have all the specifics in documentation. I know the NO2 is like one tenth the US level which requires the Urea and regenerative particulate filters (thus eating about 3-5 US MPG). Many of the European car companies are implementing these on their Euro models now so that they are "greener" and that they can lower costs to not have to build two lines.

    Try to Buy a European Diesel engine. So for example, I want to buy a VW engine so I can put that in a Jeep Wrangler. Great, I have to buy the US model, and all the extras for it just to make it US EPA compliant, while already by default Euro compliant.

  • Re:the easiest way (Score:5, Interesting)

    by godrik (1287354) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:49AM (#41586967)

    I live in the US now, but I lived in France until a few years ago.
    The market is quite different in ways most people do not see.

    First of all, the weather condition in the US are very variating from a region to the other one. I live in ohio and we get snow about 5 month per year. That's a mid alps type of snow. Having a good traction is important. Most people will get "all seasons tires", which is fairly stupid, but that's what people do.

    Then, the road condition are different. I was reading recently that US policitians prefer opening new roads than fixing existing ones. The road are bad in the US in general compared to your average road in France. Having a car that can take bad roads is important.

    Most people will travel long distance, having a confortable car is important. You frequently hear "I'll drive there, it is only 18 hours driving away". People think whenever they buy a car, that they might travel for days in it.

    There might be issues on familly sizes as well, but I could not find good comparative data on it (beside fertility rate which does not mean too much).

    In France, half the problem of having a car is parking it. Parking is typically not an issue here. So there is less incentive for small cars.

    Importing car from the european market is difficult. European cars are more expensive to buy and to insure than american or japanese cars.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:15PM (#41587433)

    I recently saw though that there was new turbocharger technology that can "pre-charge" them or somesuch, effectively eliminating the lag.

    Years ago I read an article about a research vehicle that contained a compressor and air tank. When the engine had spare power it would compress air and fill the air tank. When it needed extra power, it would use the compressed air to supercharge the engine (burn more fuel on each piston stroke).

    But then they took it a step further: you could use household electric power to pre-fill the air tank. Then you could use the compressed air (without fuel) to start the engine, eliminating the need for a starter motor and big lead acid battery. And for short trips, and in places where tailpipe emissions are a problem (such as tunnels, or underground garages) you could run entirely on compressed air to move the pistons without burning any fuel.

    By reducing the size of the engine, eliminating the starter motor, reducing the battery size, and shifting part of the energy load from gasoline to grid electricity, they estimated this vehicle could consume 20% less gas while costing less to manufacture.

    Does anyone else remember seeing this? Does anyone know why this idea never took off?

  • by CubicleZombie (2590497) on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:19PM (#41587491)

    I am worried about the day when fuel efficiency is mandated such that larger vehicles are essentially no longer produced.

    The station wagon was legislated away and the SUV took its place. I figure once they mandate away SUVs, we'll start seeing commercial vehicles converted for passenger use. I look forward to my future Mack or Kenworth 18 wheeled family car.

    Seriously, though, I bought a Ford Escape Hybrid for my wife and baby. The rear cargo area holds exactly one stroller, one pack'n'play, and one duffel bag. Nothing more. I posted about this once before and the slashdot community accused my wife and I of being too obese to fit in the car, which is absolutely not the case. It's just not that big. Of course, around here, they think you should let your offspring cling to your neckbeard as you go vacation in the park next to your highrise city apartment.

  • by harrkev (623093) <kfmsd@harrelsonfa[ ]y.org ['mil' in gap]> on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:24PM (#41587565) Homepage

    I do absolutely agree with you. There is a difference between "want" and "need." A few "need" and a lot "want." The problem is, however, who determined the difference? Raising gas prices by an insane amount would certainly drive people to cheaper cars, but it would have a disproportional impact on people like me who legitimately NEED a larger vehicle. Should you have to show proof that you need a larger car before buying one?

    Honesty, I think that $3.63/gallon right now where I live is certainly an incentive in what you buy. I remember when I was younger, people really did not even pay attention to the gas mileage rating of a car. Now, it is a selling point, so a lot of people are getting it.

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