the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Legislating Physics

Posted by Jeff Id on April 6, 2010

To start out, I’ll admit that I don’t have all the facts on the mileage standards and haven’t even had time to read the law.  That said, I do have experience with internal combustion engines having taught labs, studied and even published on them, and I do have an opinion of the assignment of fuel economy standards.  Recently in the news it was reported:

The Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department’s officials targeted to raise the average mileage of new cars to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.

Of course they have mandated it, not targeted it, because that’s what liberal politicians do.

Starting in 2012, automakers will be required to improve average fuel efficiency in their fleets by 5 percent every year through 2016, pushing mileage to an average 34.1 miles per gallon by the end of the initiative.

The fleets include cars and trucks, it’s also stated that it will be a cost savings.

The Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, in a joint statement, said the purchase of the average car affected by the regulations would likely translate into savings of $3,000 over the life of the car due to the higher fuel efficiency mandated by the standards.

Of course the feel good liberal media with no ability to question when they are being lied to, made no criticism of this law and instead just gave the whole thing one big happy pass.

So I’ll ask readers to think about this policy.  How many of you have ever seen a pickup truck or SUV that can meet the 2016 standard?  The answer is they can’t, they therefore will pull down the fleet number.  So of course the other sold vehicles will have to have a higher mileage standard than average, again I’ll ask people to consider if you have ever seen a 45mpg family car with reasonable space, cost and features? Again, you haven’t.  There is a simple reason for that.  We don’t have the technology to produce workable vehicles at this level of performance. Sure 2016 is a few years away but in 2016 we still won’t have the ability to do this — the dirty secret is, the government knows this.  It cannot add $1000  to the cost of the car, because you can’t build them.

They know it.

And they don’t care, because the key is the penalty for what happens when car companies can’t sell the shitty little riceburners (that Obama wouldn’t be caught dead in) to us.  What happens when you still prefer to pay for the picup truck – because you need it?

Taxes baby, that’s all, just taxes. Lisa Jackson summed it all up perfectly.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson called the initiative “an important example of how our economic and environmental priorities go hand-in-hand.”

The price of gas is more than enough incentive for consumers to seek out better vehicles, it always has been.   I’m not kidding myself though, many of your perceptions on fuel economy have been twisted by the liberal press reports of water burning cars and ultra efficient vehicles being held back by big oil.  These are lies of course, as are the press reports, and the government statements.  Nothing but flat, in your face, lies.  It’s not my fault of course that people can’t look up this information for themselves, or think with anything other than a public education has provided.  People are foolish, as is accepting a hidden tax in the form of a mandated fuel economy.

But then again, nobody asked me.


155 Responses to “Legislating Physics”

  1. CarlGullans said

    Right on Jeff! Another problem with all of this is that GM and Chrysler are going to get a head start on producing the “rice burners” that can meet these standards, as they are government owned, and then Ford (which is doing immensely better than the other two, especially since the government takeover) will be screwed over.

  2. M. Simon said

    My bet is that Toyota and the other Japanese car makers will come closer to meeting the standard than Government Motors and Crisis motors.

    The mandates will then be delayed.

  3. benpal said

    “an important example of how our economic and environmental priorities go hand-in-hand.”

    How cute.

  4. Chuckles said

    Whats that sound Martha, could it be the goalposts moving?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/07/business/energy-environment/07ethanol.html?_r=1

    Translation: Just to be sure, and to make it interesting, we’ll drop the energy content of a gallon of fuel at the same time.

    Perhaps it’s time to switch to imperial gallons?

  5. Mark T said

    Jeff said:

    But then again, nobody asked me.

    Nobody asked me, either. Yet still I get called delusional by the likes of the Michels in the world because I don’t buy into all the lies told by progressive/liberal politicians, economists, and assorted leaders. Guess what? I don’t buy into it all because I am capable of thinking for myself and smart enough to come to rational decisions based on those thoughts.

    Mark

  6. BDAABAT said

    Would bet that at least part of the plan is to adopt EPA mileage estimates like those of the Volt:
    http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-10307349-48.html

    Offering one or two vehicles that use these mileage calculations will allow companies to actually sell a fair number of trucks/SUVs (you know, the vehicles that most people actually want and therefore choose to buy) to help make a profit.

    Don’t forget about the increasing mileage requirement going along with lower energy density fuel (again, mandated):
    http://www.epa.gov/otaq/renewablefuels/420f09023.pdf

    Sooooo…decreasing energy density in fuel AND increasing fuel economy standards. Riiiggghhhhttt!

    Bruce

  7. Raven said

    Jeff,

    The rules allow car makers to buy credits instead of meeting the standards.
    This is will end up being a stealth tax on new cars.

  8. j ferguson said

    Jeff, you should get an “A” for this post title.

  9. Tom Fuller said

    Hi Jeff,

    Time to annoy you again. The average weight of passenger vehicles has risen 800 pounds since 2001, more than overcoming the average gain in efficiency of 1% per year. What are we carrying around in the past 10 years that weighs 800 pounds? Composites are lighter, airbags were in there before… anybody know what the answer is? (I don’t…)

    I think providing incentives to encourage people to choose lighter cars isn’t stupid, isn’t communism, and might overall be a good thing. We, umm, do want to use less oil, don’t we?

  10. Andrew said

    What’s next, legally mandating mathematical truth?

    Oh wait.

    Sorry but that’s what popped into my head.

  11. Jeremy said

    The unintended consequence of this legislation will be vehicles that are not as safe as todays.

    If you red this article:
    http://www.roadandtrack.com/auto_news/tech/add-more-lightness

    You see quite clearly that, adjusted for weight, fuel economy has actually increased at a steep rate for a good long while. Why has weight increased in an era of unprecedented materials science advances? Because cars today are not the simple vehicles with ac they were in the 70s. They are well-engineered safety boxes with lots of extra collision-prevention/injury-mitigation devices.

    Sure, we could get fleetwide stats of 35 mpgs easy, but you will sacrifice collision safety. That’s likely what will happen.

  12. Hmmm said

    There is a caveat that may make it more agreeable:

    If you read this link, CAFE regs are based on the old NHSTA 2-cycle test, not the current EPA estimates we are now familiar with. This will result in mileages closer to 30-31 mpg on today’s EPA estimates for cars, and 21-22 mpg on today’s EPA estimate for trucks. That’s pretty significant (if true) and certainly much more reasonable.

    http://green.autoblog.com/2010/04/05/what-cars-today-really-meet-the-new-cafe-regs-more-than-you-mig/

    It sounds like they may be twisting #’s, comparing apples to oranges (without telling us) to make the fuel savings appear bigger than they actually are. But at least it’s in a way that will be easier for manufacturers to meet.

    What’s still ridiculous is that they weight the average by units sold. It’s not a manufacturer’s fault if people don’t buy their more efficient units. Making them available for sale should be more than enough.

  13. Kon Dealer said

    Jeff, I’m afraid I’m not with you on this.
    45mpg with good space and pace is a reality here in Europe, just checkout the BMW 5 series and the Merecedes E-Class .

    As for pickup trucks who really needs them? Fewer than I suspect out of those who currently buys these dinosaurs.

    Climate Sceptic and IPCC disbeliever I am, but we do live in a world with finite resources. We should save them when reasonably possible.

    That said the legalised robbery that is UK fuel prices is something else.
    We actually pay a tax on a tax here.

    Basic fuel price, + fuel duty + Value Added Tax (17.5%) which is levied on the sum of the first 2!
    Welcome to the $8 gallon!

  14. pgosselin said

    In Europe many cars are powered by more efficient diesel engines. These engines have really come a long way over the last 20 years. Many mid-size cars here in Europe would have no problems meeting the EPA targets. My diesel Mercedes C Class 200 CDI (116 hp) gets around 45 mpg, and is big enough to transport 5, though not that comfortably. I imagine most smaller size pick-ups and minivans in USA could meet the targets…with diesel engines. But diesel is hardly a favourite of the EPA, and so you’re screwed.
    If you’ve got a family of 6 or more, Then in will be very hard to find a gasoline-powered vehicle that meets the targets.
    Overall, I agree with Jeff – the government should get out of the nanny business.
    But America, you elected this government democratically – live with it!
    Some people have to learn the hard way.

  15. Hmmm said

    http://www.dieselnet.com/standards/us/fe.php

    “The CAFE fuel economy figures can be significantly different from the vehicle fuel economy data published by the EPA/DOE in the Fuel Economy Guide report and on new vehicle labels. There are three sets of fuel economy figures:

    EPA’s unadjusted dynamometer values,
    EPA’s adjusted on-road values, and
    NHTSA’s CAFE values.
    The unadjusted EPA values are calculated based on CO2 emissions measured over the dynamometer test, using a carbon balance equation. The EPA on-road fuel economy values provided to consumers on new vehicle labels, in the EPA/DOE Fuel Economy Guide, and in EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide are adjusted downward by 15%, to make the data more representative of the real world driving conditions.

    The CAFE values—used to determine manufacturers’ compliance with the average fuel economy standards—are significantly higher than the EPA on-road values. The CAFE data reported by the DOT is not adjusted by the 15% factor used by the EPA.”

    Below from the horses’ mouths:

    “Do NHTSA’s CAFE values differ from EPA’s fuel economy data?
    Three different sets of fuel economy values- NHTSA’s CAFE values, EPA’s unadjusted dynamometer values, and EPA’s adjusted on-road values exist. NHTSA’s CAFE values are used to determine manufacturers’ compliance with the applicable average fuel economy standards and to develop its annual report, the Automotive Fuel Economy Program Annual Update. The EPA’s unadjusted dynamometer values are calculated from the emissions generated during the testing using a carbon balance equation. EPA knows the amount of carbon in the fuel, so by measuring the carbon compounds expelled in the exhaust they can calculate the fuel economy. EPA’s adjusted on-road values are those values listed in the Fuel Economy Guide and on new vehicle labels, adjusted to account for the in-use shortfall of EPA dynamometer test values.”

    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/cafe/overview.htm

    “Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE)
    Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) is the required average fuel economy for a vehicle manufacturer’s entire fleet of passenger cars and light trucks for each model year. It applies to passenger cars and light trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 pounds or less manufactured for sale in the United States. CAFE values are obtained using the same test data generated by the fuel economy tests used to determine the fuel economy estimates for the Guide and labels, but the test results are not adjusted to account for real-world conditions. Instead, the results from the city and highway tests are combined. EPA administers the testing program which generates the fuel economy data and determines the procedures for calculating the fuel economy values for CAFE. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is part of DOT, is responsible for establishing and amending the CAFE standards for trucks. Congress sets the CAFE standards for cars. EPA reports the CAFE results for each manufacturer to NHTSA annually, and NHTSA determines if the manufacturers comply with the CAFE standards and assesses penalties as required.”

    http://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/420f04053.htm

  16. pgosselin said

    Kon Dealer,
    “As for pickup trucks who really needs them?”

    That’s Marxist question. Who really needs a dryer or dishwasher? Who needs an iPhone? Who needs to fly out on holidays? Who needs a collection of 1000 Cds? Who needs a paved driveway? Who needs a watch that costs more than 50 bucks? …
    Of course we could all live like they do in Kuba. That’s enough, isn’t it?

    Why do you need a nanny to tell you how to live and what you need?
    There a lot of things I don’t need – but I’m happy to have them.
    In fact I think everybody ought to live like Al Gore, Hollywood stars and President Obama.

  17. Hmmm said

    Kon and Pgosselin,
    to be absolutely fair:

    a) Diesel vehicles are more expensive upfront and to maintain and don’t have the fueling station qty we’d like here in the states. I’d compare them to a mild hybrid option as far as the increased cost (extra $2k and up).

    b) European fuel mileage test protocols are allot different, and generally result in much higher mpg estimates than those used in states, for the exact same given vehicle.

    But I totally agree with you I’d like to see more diesel vehicles and refueling stations available here in the states.

  18. PhilJourdan said

    Kon Dealer #13:

    As for pickup trucks who really needs them? Fewer than I suspect out of those who currently buys these dinosaurs.

    I do. Who are you to decide my needs, or my neighbors needs?

    As to the article, just a small point of clarification. It is a regulation, not a law. As such, failure to comply is a violation of Administrative Law which can result in fines. But the regulation itself is not a law.

  19. Ron H. said

    Thanks, Pgosselin, you beat me to it.

    “That’s Marxist question. Who really needs a dryer or dishwasher? Who needs an iPhone? Who needs to fly out on holidays? Who needs a collection of 1000 Cds? Who needs a paved driveway? Who needs a watch that costs more than 50 bucks? …
    Of course we could all live like they do in Kuba. That’s enough, isn’t it?”

    “As for pickup trucks who really needs them?”

    The correct answer, of course,is “Those that WANT them.”

  20. Maxt said

    “As for pickup trucks who really needs them?”

    Because a prius is going to handle my 4000 lb daily tool load..

    The problem with diesels in North America, is the emissions level requirements have killed off the fuel economy advantage. Sure its nice to have a diesel that smells like just hot air and blows no soot, however it takes fuel to clean the DPF’s out, and the engines are now bigger to make up for the power losses due to emissions. Meanwhile tankers importing the extra fuel have no emissions equipment.. Makes sense doesn’t it?..
    I once wrote an email to the EPA asking what was the point of burning more fuel to make a tailpipe reading cleaner, what about all the extra polution to make the increased fuel burnt? They really didnt have an answer. Their only course of action was to attack my real world mileage figures between 2 trucks I owned that were 12 years apart in age. The older non emissions truck averaging a consistant 12 mpg more.

  21. Jeff Id said

    Some here require pickups and there is no way to get them to 45mpg. I read several comments on different mileage standards, that would help, but really who thinks they can have a minivan which will be able to reach these standards?

    Legislating mileage makes no sense at all and it’s only another of the endless tax avenues which can be secretly exploited to bleed industry into further submission.

    #9, The 800 pounds is what protects you when cars crash—you really, really don’t want to get rid of that weight. My families life is more important than a few mpg, and the weight is very important. Rolling resistance makes up only about 10% of the cruising speed energy consumption anyway. The shape of the vehicle (wind resistance) therefore is what determines your energy consumption.

    Remember, because of the long life of CO2 (as stated by the IPCC) the only way to stop the problem is to eliminate CO2 100%. Mitigation adds cost which takes away from our ability to invest in the new technologies which are required to reach the goal. In the meantime, all we do is give the government our freedom and money for at best – no reason at all. In my opinion policy of added cost will end up loading the economy and ejecting more net CO2 into the air before the new tech can be implemented.

    All these unknowns yet it’s so easy for some people to support pointless and damaging limitation policy.

    Again, I say this mileage standard cannot be reached. We will see whether I’m right or wrong in a short time, but the technology to make it work does not exist and will not be implemented by that time.

    Finally, I like the Europeans who think they have better mileage than us lousy capitalist Americans. They are the same technology vehicles, same kinds of engine, same fuels. However, European cars are like roller skates in comparison to what most drive here – narrow with low frontal profile and tiny engines. The funny thing which is never discussed is that the stop and go of the narrow European roadways actually results in worse average mileage than we get. Car and driver did an article on it some time ago. Another dirty little secret the media doesn’t want to report.

  22. robertm said

    Simple solution for SUV’s/large cars; use turbo Diesel engines with low suphur diesel as we do in Europe. No reason why you cannot have them with automatic transmissions.

    GD and Ford both already do diesels for Europe, as do all the big manufactures. Plenty of Large Saloons do 45+ MPG(US gallons)and 0-60mph in less than 9 seconds.

    At the moment the best MPG figures I have seen are from reindeer burning Volvo’s (V50 drivE stop/start) so Ford should (or did) have the technology and you wont’t have to drive a Prius.

    In the UK, most large vehicles : say over 1200kg & 100bhp use turbo diesel, becuase fuels so expensive(tax!) and there’s a large tax advantages for business cars.

    Diesel adds about £1000, $1450 to cost of car compared to petrol equivalent.

  23. Raven said

    For those that need a truck for whatever reason:
    http://www.japaneseminitrucks.ca/

    Note that these trucks are very difficult to import in North America because of dumb regulations by bureaucrats.

  24. Andrew said

    Anybody seen the math done on the excess deaths due to CAFE standards? Because I hope those praising them know that the first thing that gets done to reach higher mileage is to lighten the cars. And lighter cars are less safe. I’m not saying that they take out the safety features-they don’t-but there is a huge difference between getting in an accident in a minivan versus a little tiny car no matter how many air bags you stuff the latter with.

  25. Raven said

    #24 – Andrew

    Fuel costs money and that cost will go up over time.
    This means more and more people will willingly live with the safety issue because they can’t afford the fuel costs no matter what the government does.
    So you can’t lay all of those deaths at the head of CAFE standards.
    It is a classic risk vs benefit decision that we have to make all of the time.

    The only important thing is people should not be prevented from making the choice that suits them.
    i.e. regulations that banned SUVs/larger cars are unacceptable.

  26. pgosselin said

    Here’s a chunk of great news! A bucket of cold water on Obama.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20001825-38.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20
    h/t Drudge
    Yes, we can continue blogging!

  27. Andrew said

    25-Except that CAFE is not voluntary but coercive. What about the choice that suits Auto manufacturers?

  28. Raven said

    #27 – Andrew,

    Governments have a role setting the minimum standards for products on the market. e.g. car makers are not allowed to sell cars without seat belts even if people would buy them. I realize that pure libertarians feel the market can sort this stuff out via lawsuits but I feel that tort lawyers are only thing worse than bureaucrats when it comes to setting industry standards.

    IOW, the only issue I have with the current batch of CAFE standards is I am not convinced they are technically feasible and will result in car makers gaming the system instead of actually addressing problem.

  29. BDAABAT said

    Impact of “downweighting” to meet previous CAFE standards:

    “Thus, the majority of this committee believes that the evidence is clear that past downweighting and downsizing of the light-duty vehicle fleet, while resulting in significant fuel savings, has also resulted in a safety penalty. In 1993, it would appear that the safety penalty included between 1,300 and 2,600 motor vehicle crash deaths that would not have occurred had vehicles been as large and heavy as in 1976.”

    Clipped from p. 28 of the NRC’s report on Effectiveness and Impact of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards
    http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/CAFE/docs/162944_web.pdf

    The result is that requiring CAFE standards has actually resulted in deaths.

    Bruce

  30. BDAABAT said

    #25 Raven wrote:
    This means more and more people will willingly live with the safety issue because they can’t afford the fuel costs no matter what the government does.
    So you can’t lay all of those deaths at the head of CAFE standards.

    It is a classic risk vs benefit decision that we have to make all of the time.

    Yes, you most certainly CAN lay the blame at CAFE standards. In fact, the National Research Council did! See above post.

    Funny thing, people in this country overwhelmingly choose to buy larger, less fuel efficient cars. Simply take a look at the best selling vehicles in the US over the past 10 or 20 years. In 2000, the best selling vehicle in the US was the Ford F150 pickup truck. EPA mileage: 14/19. Best selling vehicle in the US in 2009: Ford F150 pickup truck. EPA mileage 14/19.
    http://www.motortrend.com/features/auto_news/2010/112_1004_america_top_10_best_selling_vehicle_comparison_2009_2000/index.html

    When people have the choice of what they want to buy, they generally do NOT vote with their pocketbooks to get the most fuel efficient vehicles.

    Remarkably, CAFE has failed miserably to achieve it’s main aim: to save fuel. There is no overall fuel “savings”. There isn’t oil available now that would have been used up were it not for CAFE. The reality is that more people drive and people now drive more. So, whatever amount of gas was “saved” by making cars more efficient has been off-set by more people driving and driving more total miles. So, this is a policy failure with the added impact of additional deaths as a result of lightweighting the vehicles.

    What the CAFE standards boil down to is that others believe that they know what’s best for you (and me). Is that what you really want???

    Bruce

  31. Kon Dealer said

    First time I’ve been called a Marxist.

    If I was an American I’d vote Republican.

    Having a regard for the environment does not make me a pinko.

  32. telecorder said

    http://planetgore.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MTA4YzJkMWM0OThjODZkZGJkYzNkODlkNThkMTNhYzA=

    Green Washington Wants Less-efficient Fuel [Henry Payne]

    Detroit — On April 1, the Obama administration’s EPA issued final rules forcing automakers to increase their vehicles’ fuel economy by 40 percent in five years. The next day, the very same EPA favorably reviewed an ethanol fuel mandate that would force autos to get up to 5 percent worse fuel economy.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

    Follow us here. By the same date — 2015 — that the new 35.5 mpg EPA mandate is due to go into effect, oil companies are also mandated by Congress to double the amount of corn ethanol use (from 2007 levels) to 15 billion gallons. The current mandate of a 10 percent ethanol mix in fuel won’t get us there, so the powerful corn lobby is demanding EPA increase the mandate to a 15 percent ethanol mix.

    Trouble is, a gallon of ethanol is 30 percent less efficient than a gallon of gas meaning that the more ethanol you mix in, the worse your gas mileage. Department of Energy studies show steadily decreasing fuel economy as ethanol blends rise from so-called E10 (fuel composed of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gas) up through E15 and E20 — with E20 suffering a 7.7 percent fuel efficiency loss.

    Yet DOE’s green-zealot-in-chief Steven Chu still favors an increased mix of ethanol. So while automakers are sweating under the federal gun to make increasingly fuel-efficient engines, the government is mandating they do it with less-efficient fuel.

    We’re still not making this up.

  33. Tony Hansen said

    Jeff,
    Legislting Physics. ? I have enough troubles pronouncing some words and you just make it tougher.🙂

  34. Jeff Id said

    #33 fixed it.

  35. Raven said

    #30 BDAABAT

    Remarkably, CAFE has failed miserably to achieve it’s main aim: to save fuel. There is no overall fuel “savings”. There isn’t oil available now that would have been used up were it not for CAFE. The reality is that more people drive and people now drive more. So, whatever amount of gas was “saved” by making cars more efficient has been off-set by more people driving and driving more total miles. So, this is a policy failure with the added impact of additional deaths as a result of lightweighting the vehicles.

    The efficency paradox. Sounds like a better approach would raise taxes on gasoline to European levels and let that market sort it out.

  36. chris y said

    Jeff, there is an easy way out for the automakers. Just build some hybrids that do not need to run the gasoline engine for the duration of the CAFE standard testing cycle. Since existing standards do not account for battery charge, the mpg rating is infinite. Give away a few of them each year, and you can set the fleet average to any number you want.

  37. Jeff Id said

    #36, The average is based on sold vehicles I believe.

  38. Jeff Id said

    I’ve seen several comments that high mileage cars are available. These vehicles are all diesel which cannot work on a basis of the different chain lengths in oil. Currently a high percentage is octane. It’s not practical to think all of the US would be able to switch to deisel. Also, these cars have very low frontal profiles and are underpowered – especially for the price. The solution doesn’t work for the types of vehicle the market requires.

    #35, Certainly if you thought limitation was a good option, raising taxes on gas would cause limitation. It’s a horrible economy crushing idea though with absolutely no upside.

  39. Margaret said

    Like Kon above I have real difficulty with your suggestion that this is impossible (as opposed to mandating it which is more of a liberties matter).

    According to the statistics which I have for my own country, every new car sold in New Zealand already has a fuel efficiency of at least 34 mpg(US) with the range going up to 62 mpg(US). (A “car” for this purpose is defined as any vehicle less than 3.5 tonnes GVW in size so I suspect includes a lot of the larger vehicles as well as the standard family car.) I don’t have an average but it would be well above the 35.5 that you suggesting will be technically impossible in 2016. If we can do it now, why is it impossible then?

    The most recent version of the car I drive (my version is older so even though it has good fuel economy it is probably not as good) is over the 35.5 mpg minimum — and it is an 8 person people mover with a large boot. We are a six person family (4 teenage boys) and I doubt the loads we put in it are insignificant– either in terms of people weight, or in terms of groceries, or in terms of suitcases when we go traveling — yet we get a very acceptable fuel consumption as well as performance out of it.

  40. Raven said

    #38 – Jeff

    The upside is:

    1) raises revenue for a government that desperately needs it.
    2) better prepares people for the $150-$200 oil world that is coming soon.

    You could argue that 1) is not needed if the government would only cut spending (good luck with that).
    2) will come faster if something is not done about 1) because high deficits mean a lower US$

  41. Jeff Id said

    #39, It is impossible in an SUV or pickup truck. We use them in our businesses and work. In the US, millions of people run businesses which use pickup trucks. You cannot do the work of a plumber from a car or small scale construction worker here. You cannot drive a large comfortable car at these levels either, it will attempt to force the US to buy the narrow width rice burners of Europe and apparently New Zealand.

    Although Europe is apparently unaware of it, we live a higher quality lifestyle here, or we used to. We have more living space, more personal businesses, more cars and very comfortable homes at the correct temperature year round all due to our free capitalist system. Jet ski’s, boats, snowmobiles, motorcycles, my neighbor on social security disability for 20 years has 6 cars and a big screen TV.

    Our way of life is being destroyed by this kind of idiotic legislation. There are many differences between here and Europe, including that most of us cannot walk to the grocery store – which is a huge efficient industrial thing with every kind of food all together in one place not a mom and pop shop. And again, 35 is the average MPG required, if you run pickup trucks with lower mileage, someone has to compensate.

    These standards cannot be met unless all these people decide to buy different kinds of vehicles than we have had for almost 100 years, and believe me, they won’t. The result, another hidden tax siphoning money and control to the benefit of the endless expansion of the US government.

    This has nothing to do with mileage, nothing to do with efficiency,nothing to do with CO2.. Why people don’t consider that is beyond me.

    Too much new tax, too much new government and way too fast.

  42. Jeff Id said

    #40, The last thing this government needs is revenue.

  43. curious said

    Sorry to get to this party late – have I got it right? Best thing for the US economy is to stick a couple of cwt of cement in the trunk of every car on the road? Did I miss something? (stands back to the loud sound of a 9mm slide being pulled..)🙂

  44. Margaret said

    #41 Thanks for your reply Jeff — but our vehicle is wide, luxurious and though our particular model is to old to have the very latest in passenger safety, it definitely has airbags and side-bar protection. No it is not a ute — but neither is it a midget-sized tin can. If it was, our family (four of whom are over six foot in height — and the youngest moving rapidly to that size) would be complaining bitterly. Instead we all stretch out in a most comfortable three-tiered seating arrangement. In other words, I think you are overstating the difference between the “American” lifestyle and ours!!! (We also have a five bedroomed home – three living areas with large section, close to the city ie we are hardly in a grass hut.)

    I personally think you are on stronger grounds arguing “it shouldn’t be legislated” rather than “Americans need it to fulfill their sense of entitlement to a particular way of living” or “it can’t be done”. The first is a clear expression of your views on the limits to Government, the second a very debatable proposition, and the third doesn’t accord with what other countries already are achieving.

  45. Sean said

    I have to respectfully disagree about the possiblity of this mandate. Being an old fart who went through the oil shocks of the 70’s I recall Volkwagon rabbits getting nearly 60 MPG…THIRTY YEARS AGO. I believe it is entirely possible and likely that the fuel standards will be met, particularly if they can avoid the temptation to add more ethanol to the blend. Consider the size and weight of a vehicle and then of the engine to make it accelerate. You probably only need a half to a third of the engine size for normal cruising that you need for accelerating. A hybrid assist provides a lot of low end torque so you can use a smaller engine. Unfortunately, it really is an expensive and a heavy option. But look what else is happening with the just the regular gasoline engine. You can cut back to number of cylinders to 3 or even 2 (Renault is doing this), add a turbo and a supercharger and you get the torque when you need it and your not moving alot of dead weight when you don’t.
    I’m of the opinion that we should have been increasing fuel economy steadily for the last 25 years rather than taking 2 decades off. It should have been pushed by the Dept of Energy but they didn’t. EPA should stick to regulating real polutants, not CO2.

  46. Jeff Id said

    #44, tell me what is the model, engine and year. You have me curious.

  47. Jeff Id said

    BTW, there are plenty of people in the worst communist countries that live better than myself. The problem is the average and where does the money come from. The world will loose a lot more than sales if America stops being able to buy.

  48. Jeff Id said

    I’ve traveled to a lot of countries, and have never seen one close to the US. Not to say I didn’t love them though. Austria was fantastic, Germany was amazing, Canada was the closest. I would love to go to Ireland, Scotland and England, please understand that I’m not saying the US is the best at living, what I’m telling people is that we figured out how to have the most comfort for your families, the most personal freedom, and the most you can get out of a very short life. There are wonderful and amazing cultures everywhere which I enjoy beyond what can be described. Foods, friends and fun.

    However, the rest of the world should be paying more attention to the how it happened here, rather than what’s wrong with it. In the 70 good years of conscious and productive life we might hope to attain, there is a better way to live. We are watching it be destroyed by power hungry politicians and people trying to save the every last remnant of poverty stricken population across the globe. Europeans are celebrating but they have been brainwashed by constant media bullcrap – like people don’t get healthcare without insurance.

    I hope that people think about that while considering how different America is. No country I’m aware of, gives more percentage wise or total money to poor, no people tries harder, yet what gave the ability to this people is freedom. It IS being stolen. Who will take the sash then? Which country is ready to grab the flag and run… I’m moving there ASAP.

    What is happening here is sad for the whole world.

  49. Margaret said

    Toyota Previa.

    You are right about the significance of the American economy to the world, but that is because of your government’s budget deficit and by the overall lack of savings (both private and governmental). Things are looking very dicey — and since New Zealand has had its dicey past (though we are doing quite OK at present) I am well aware of the very serious consequences for the average income levels in your country should it be unable to turn itself around.

  50. Jeff Id said

    #49 lack of savings are very recent in the timing of things. How convenient an excuse. There has been an ongoing change in the US since Clinton’s era or even Carter’s. It’s amazing to see so many foreigners rejoice at the loss of freedom here. They push us to accept it and then mock us for it.

    The average income of our country should be a concern of your own. America buys and moves enough product to affect the whole world’s income and food.

    I looked up a previa.

    MSRP * $24,878 – $28,508
    $29,528 – $32,938
    Invoice * $21,908 – $24,958
    $25,850 – $28,835
    Engine 2.4L I-4 161 HP
    2.4L I-4 161 HP
    Transmission 4-spd auto w/OD
    4-spd auto w/OD
    Fuel Economy City 17.0 mpg
    18.0 mpg
    17.0 mpg
    18.0 mpg
    Fuel Economy Highway 20.0 mpg
    22.1 mpg
    20.0 mpg
    22.1 mpg

    —————————–

    Again, foreigners don’t understand the US. We have different standards of pollution. From wiki ->

    However, the US and Canada have the toughest emissions requirements (in terms of parts per million of pollutants). Some higher-mileage vehicles in Europe would not meet US (and California) emissions standards.

    Tell me what model, year and engine so I can do a real comparison. Remember, we have very high standards here for everything. These auto standards affect cost, performance and efficiency. I really wish so many foreigners weren’t fooled by the press.

  51. Leonard Weinstein said

    #21 Jeff Id
    I agree that the proposed mileage is a crock and totally unrealistic in that time frame. Use of hybrid cars and small hybrid trucks would help a lot in the city driving. All electric may be a solution when much better batteries are found, and if the economics can be made to make sense. However there is a point I want to disagree with you on. The drag coefficient of most present cars is so low that aerodynamic drag is not nearly the dominant fuel user at cruse speeds. Rolling resistance from soft tires is tops, and transmission losses and air conditioner power are also large effects. Aerodynamic drag is only larger on big trucks and less streamlined vehicles, and then only slightly larger than rolling friction losses. It may be true that the rolling resistance uses only 10% of the energy in the fuel, but the engine is only about 20% efficient, and even less of that energy gets to the wheels due to transmission and A/C losses, so the aero loss is much less than 10% of the energy. For large trucks, the rolling resistance typically equals the aero drag at 50 mph, and that is with very large drag coefficients (0.8 or so).

  52. Jeff Id said

    #51, Please show me how a car with a 0.3-0.5 drag coefficient at cruise using only 11 hp is putting most of its energy into the friction of the wheel bearings.

    Aerodynamic drag is by far the dominant factor, of course I’m willing to be proven wrong. The AC is only 1/2 hp, the transmission is 85%. Engines at cruise are a little higher than 20%. Aero is the primary loss at speed, unless I’ve been taught for many years incorrectly.

    Remember that the question isn’t where the inefficient parts are, it’s where the resistance to motion comes from.

  53. Greg F said

    #9

    I think providing incentives to encourage people to choose lighter cars isn’t stupid …

    You either live in a city or don’t get this white stuff we call snow. Driving a rice burner in the winter where I live can be a heroing experience. Encouraging people where I live to buy lighter cars is stupid. One size does not fit all.

    #14
    Due to Europe being diesel based they export a significant quantity of gasoline to the US. Refining oil is just a process to separate the constituant parts of crude oil. One of those parts is gasoline. The US switching to the “more efficient diesel engines” would create a glut of gasoline on the world market. The unintended consequence is we would have to pump more oil to supply the diesel and who knows what we would do with the excess gasoline.

  54. MikeN said

    What if you build an electric car, that has the internal lights run off the gasoline engine? You would get about 2000 mpg, and if you could make this one percent of your fleet, that’s twenty mpg increase right there.

  55. Dan W said

    If you really want to reduce pollution from vehicles and reduce oil consumption then we should consider running our vehicles on Natural Gas. There is ample supply in the US and Canada, cost is comparable. Like most things there are several disadvantages. But the overall goal of reducing pollution and our dependance on foreign oil would be met.

  56. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: Sean (Apr 6 20:35),

    I recall Volkwagon rabbits getting nearly 60 MPG…THIRTY YEARS AGO.

    That was the 1.5 liter normally aspirated diesel. And that would be 60 mpg on the highway under ideal conditions like a 55 mph speed limit. It would also barely get out of it’s own way in terms of acceleration. It had skinny tires and the body work, while it was a little thicker than the tinfoil sheet metal that was used for the Datsun 510, was not what you could call durable. Keeping the diesel running well was not trivial either. Honda also made a gasoline powered Civic that could get 50 mpg if it had the OEM tires. It was really only a two person car. 50 mpg on gasoline is a lot more impressive than 60 mpg on diesel. Diesel is denser than gasoline so the heat value per gallon is at least 15% higher than gasoline.

    Jeff,

    Rolling resistance is not from the wheel bearings. Because the pneumatic rubber tire is flexible, energy is lost as it rolls. Harder rubber with a smaller contact patch and high tire pressure minimizes rolling resistance. Good luck stopping on a wet road, though. You should try pushing a race car with hot tires sometime if you want to feel some rolling resistance.

  57. STEPHEN PARKER said

    Jeff, yes its a tax, always penalty and never incentive. Here in the uk, our political masters in europe have imposed stricter emmission standards for diesel, coming in in a couple of years. So diesel will become the preserve for more expensive models. Im an avid reader of the motoring mags and this has been known for years. Mercedes benz for example has been working on direct injection petrol engines for years, with turbocharging playing a part.You will have sub 2 litre petrol cars doing over 40mpg and 120 mph plus, 0 to 60 sub 8 secs easy. This will be in cars such as the E class merc ford mondeo bmw 5 series. Ultra safe, state of the art cars. By 2015. Easy

  58. Mark T said

    Didn’t the US also change the way mpg ratings were calculated a few years ago, which basically dropped every vehicle significantly? As I recall, there were numerous 30-40 mpg cars 20 years ago, then suddenly none, and now they are just first climing back into the 30-40 range.

    The Jetta Diesel is about the most efficient car you can get in the US, hitting as high as 50 mpg on the highway by some reports. Of course, it is a diesel, so repairs and maintenance are ridiculously expensive.

    Most people (read: Europeans) that gripe about cars in the US don’t have to drive across Kansas in July, or around Florida in September when it rains an inch a day (and you’re at sea level already – flood), or anywhere in the Rocky Mountains on a daily basis (I’m regularly over 11,000 feet in my TRUCK). These ultra fuel efficient cars make zero sense in any of these scenarios.

    They also make zero sense when a 55′ semi passes you on any highway in the US, or if you are unfortunate enough to be in an accident while in one. The energy of an impact only goes up linearly with mass, but with the velocity squared. The difference between a large car and a small car is not that great (in terms of order of magnitude), but the ability of the large car to protect its occupants is vastly superior.

    So many stupid reasons for these sorts of nanny-state bills.

    Mark

  59. Jeff Id said

    #56,

    Jeff,

    Rolling resistance is not from the wheel bearings.

    I know😉

  60. Geoff Sherrington said

    From talkback radio in Melbourne, male caller says something like “I pay a tax called GST on everything I buy, I pay a tax on the tax called stamp duty, I pay a tax to keep a cat in my home, I pay a tax to have a comfortable car, half of my petrol cost is a tax. About the only non-taxed thing left to enjoy makes you blind.”

  61. PhilJourdan said

    Raven #28 – No. Governments have a role in setting safety standards (provide for the common defense), NOT minimum performance standards. The free market has the obligation (through market forces) of setting minimum performance standards. That is unless you live in a totalitarian society where the government sets everything.

  62. KevinM said

    Kon: “Having a regard for the environment does not make me a pinko.”

    No, but supporting a government that requires your neighbor to have the same level of regard for does.

    To address the obvious rebuttal, CAFE standards and:
    a) dumping industrial poison into the drinking water supply.
    b) building an airport in someone’s back yard.
    c) food sanitation standards.
    are not the same things. The differences are obvious.

  63. Sean said

    Reply to DeWitt Payne,

    I am well aware of the limitations of the Rabbit but technology and manufacturing have advanced a long way since then. The methods to make 35 MPG or even 50 MPG cars does not need to be invented it already exhists, it just needs to be redistributed differently. CAFE standards on cars probably had a lot to do with Detroit developing SUV’s (which were covered on a less aggresive fuel economy standard). Detroit seems to sell cars by the pound but the labor that goes into making each car is probably not that variable relative to size. So large gas guzzlers have high margins where smaller fuel efficient cars have practically none. The manufacturer then focuses on the cars where the most profit is to be had. If Detroit is to find its way, it will have to figure out how to make higher margin fuel efficient vehicles. I think they are beginning to do that. Last summer I replaced an Explorer (~18 MPG) with an Escape (~28 MPG). I realize its a smaller vehicle but a 50% improvement in fuel economy is nothing to shake a stick at. This is with a small, normally aspirated gasoline engine. When gas was cheap earlier in the decade, there was no incentive to make vehicles that got this kind of mileage. Between turbo or super charging, advanced fuel injection technologies and probably a still smaller engine, it would be relatively easy to produce the same horsepower for acceleration and bump up the fuel economy another 30%. Again, its really not that hard. Now would I pay $1500 more for a vehicle that got 30% better gas mileage? Well if it saved me $400 a year in gas and I planned to drive it more than 6 years, you bet.

  64. Mark T said

    Sean said
    April 7, 2010 at 9:29 am

    So large gas guzzlers have high margins where smaller fuel efficient cars have practically none.

    That’s just silly. The actual labor to build a car is only a part of the cost of the car anyway.

    The manufacturer then focuses on the cars where the most profit is to be had.

    Your understanding of economic theory needs retooling. The law of supply and demand dictates what they manufacture and what they sell, as it does with all product manufacturers. SUVs are popular in the US because people demand them, not because car manufacturers make them (and note, when gas prices shot up, SUV sales dropped significantly).

    Mark

  65. Andrew said

    I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of being a pure libertarian before!

    Raven-I was think more along the lines of, if it is a choice, a trade off for the consumer between fuel economy and safety, it should then be a choice of the consumer, not the government on behalf of the people.

    I don’t like the idea of lawsuits sorting this out, but I do like the idea of people voting with their dollars.

  66. Sean said

    Mark T
    The number of hours the manufacturer has in a car is in the range of 30 per car and Detroit in early 2008 was probably realizing nearly $78 per hour per hourly worker. (About $25 of that is retiree costs.) So there is about $2300 per vehicle in labor. (There is probaly more total labor in the car however from assemblies made by Tier 1 manufacturers.) I will allow that the $18,000 econobox may have only $2000 in labor while the $36,000 luxury SUV may have $2500 in labor but there is a lot more margin in the expensive car. In early 2008, I think the $18000 econoboxs would generate $1000-$2000 margins if sold at retail price while the luxury SUV was generating $10000-12000 margins. Now lets discount each one of these 10% because of competition (which is fierce in the econobox space) and you lose money on each econobox and make $7000 on the luxury SUV. Where would you put your development and marketing money?

    I understand the laws of supply and demand just fine. I also understand the laws of economics. You sell too much product at a loss and pretty soon you go bankrupt. I still maintain Detroit has got to stop pricing cars by the pound. It has to develop high mileage cars that it can sell with good margins. It has to get over the Henry Ford II mindset of “small car, small profit”.

  67. Mark T said

    Yet you don’t understand why manufacturers are selling SUVs. No, you don’t understand the law of supply and demand, not at all. It has nothing to do with margin. Sorry, but you’re just plain wrong: they sell the cars (supply) that people want to buy (demand).

    They make a profit by figuring out how to manufacture the car for less than their cost, whether it is a small car or a large car.

    C’mon people, this is basic stuff.

    Mark

  68. Mark T said

    I should have restated that…

    They make a profit by figuring out how to manufacture the car for less than their cost, whether it is a small car or a large car.

    should read

    They make a profit by figuring out how to manufacture the car for less than they can sell it,…

    The price they sell the car for is determined by demand. If demand is not high enough, then the price must drop to a point that margin matters, but that is the only reason it will matter. They don’t price cars by the pound. That has got to be the silliest claim you made.

    Mark

  69. Sean said

    I will admit the pricing cars by the pound is a bit over the top but I bet if you looked at the vehicle weight and new vehicle price, particularly with American cars, there would be a correlation.

    I also agree that Detroit has to make cars people want to buy and they have to make money doing it. However, they cannot charge whatever they want for a car. The market basically defines what the price point will be for a certain type of car. If you are competing with 4 Japanese and 2 Korean manufacturers on the small car end, they will likely be defining the price. Since hourly labor rates are higher in the US, particularly for Detroit’s big 3, its very difficult for Detroit to make money in the small car segment. If you make no money on small cars, you might have them in your show room to get traffic and raise your CAFE averages but the cars you want the public to buy are the ones with the high margins and for Detroit, that meant big vehicles.

    To get back to the topic, I still feel the technology exists today to meet the new standards for fuel economy without even resorting to electric hybrid systems. I also think its is possible to apply this technology in a cost effective manner on new vehicles that people will want to buy and will serve the buyers’ utilitarian and emotional needs. But there is an inertia and a conservatism in the decision making process in Detroit. So long as they only see big profits in big cars, that’s where they will put the lions share of their efforts. They’ve got to figure out how to make higher mileage cars with decent margins. Now do they need government regulation to nudge them in that direction? If gas costs $1.50 a gallon, then they probably do. If gas costs $5.00 a gallon they probably don’t. So I’ll ask you a question, would you rather see the goverment pushing higher mileage standards or higher gas prices? As an avowed cheapskate, I’d rather keep money in my pocket and put less expensive gas in my high mileage vehicle.

  70. BlueIce2HotSea said

    My home state used to require annual emissions inspections on motor vehicles. If I recall correctly, some ten years ago, the governor (Jesse Ventura) successfully championed its cancellation. The inspection program, which had been signed into law by a prior governor, was causing an increase in air pollution! WTF?

    What was happening (again, based on my memory) was that only rarely did newer cars fail. The most egregious, smog-belching clunkers were generally not fixed as the owners were given low income exemptions. Subtracting the anticipated pollution reductions from the increases generated by every motor vehicle in the state driving to an inspection yielded the ugly surprise revealed to us by our flamboyant, fiscally conservative, governor.

    Strangely, the decision was opposed by environmentalists.

    So my rhetorical questions are:
    1) Why was the calculation not done prior to constructing inspection stations and an expensive bureaucracy which thwarted the claimed intended purpose?
    2) Is it possible that more ill-considered, counter-productive, anti-pollution legislation will be pushed by self-described protectors of the environment?

  71. BlueIce2HotSea said

    Oops. I meant “automobile legislation”, not “anti-pollution legislation”

  72. Leonard Weinstein said

    Jeff,
    As was point out, rolling resistance is mostly from tire flexing, not wheel bearings friction. Also, auto drag coefficients typically run 0.15 to 0.3, not 0.3 to 0.5 (obviously with exceptions). I have been working on methods to cut aero drag on trucks, so my info is recent. These are not big issues, so you don’t need to respond unless you desire to. Your basic point is well made.

  73. Leonard Weinstein said

    Jeff,
    I just looked up values for typical cars. Most are in the Aero drag coef. range from 0.25 to 0.35, although special cars have been made with aero coef. below 0.1, and boxy cars can go above 0.5. Since aero drag goes with speed square, and rolling loss approximately linear with speed, the relative portions of drag depends on speed.

  74. Raven said

    #70 BlueIce2HotSea

    It is about symbolism. People want to think that “something” is being done. The fact that it is counterproductive is irrelevant.

    That is why alarmists are so obsessed about reducing CO2 emissions despite the fact that adaption as required is there more cost effective option.
    These people can bring themselves to believe that doing something that they believe is bad is actually better than trying to stop doing it.

  75. Raven said

    #74 – These people CAN’T bring themselves to believe that doing something that they believe is bad is actually better than trying to stop doing it.

  76. BlueIce2HotSea said

    US automakers will attempt to answer some interesting, engineering/business questions. Should foreign owned companies succeed first, the remaining independents will again be pushed toward extinction.

    On the other hand, the same government which set the stage for insolvency will be there, ready to take over save them.

  77. Kon Dealer said

    I’ve driven American cars (my sister in-law is Am,erican)and they are truly awful.
    Great big gas-guzzling, road-going whales with all the grace and handing ability of a spastic Hippo.

    Maybe that’s why American car-makers have gone bust.

  78. BlueIce2HotSea said

    Tiny cars are especially useful for tiny families with tiny budgets living in tiny countries driving on tiny streets.

    They are usually the most fun – except on bad/snowy roads.

    Road-going whales (save-the-whales) can also be useful (and fun), especially in America.

    I have four cars with: two seats, four seats, five seats and seven seats.

    The least expensive in repair costs and most fun on bad or snowy roads, the seven seat, 6600 lb. American SUV (+110,000 miles, no repairs). In comparison, the other cars (Japanese) are unpredictable and dangerous when winter conditions are poor and miserable on long trips, of which I have made many, in all of them.

  79. curious said

    re: small and light and snow and mountains and fun:

    Check out Minis in the Monte Carlo Rally –

    http://www.seriouswheels.com/cars/top-Mini-at-the-Monte-Carlo-Rally.htm

    (and 50mpg)

  80. Thoughtful Tom said

    So you can’t lay all of those deaths at the head of CAFE standards.
    It is a classic risk vs benefit decision that we have to make all of the time.

    The only important thing is people should not be prevented from making the choice that suits them.
    i.e. regulations that banned SUVs/larger cars are unacceptable.

    You are not touching the game theory piece here. If everyone is driving big cars – it is the same. If everyone is driving small cars – it is the same. The safety gradient, under your regime, is HIGHLY tilted towards the rich folks who like to drive Hummers and the like.

    It is great for you to say well screw that – for my family it is the biggest possible vehicle. Given the real world constraints (ie in the real world their are constraints on resources) not EVERYONE can drive a bigger behemoth than the person next to them. So the safety argument is pretty much bogus.

    As is the “it can’t be done” (sorry Jeff). A hybrid diesel would get you pretty darn close already. In 2010. For work vehicles (I currently drive a 2002 Dodge Sprinter and get 25MPG and it is the IDEAL work vehicle).

    And I always chafe when people assume American ingenuity can’t solve a problem (not deny the laws of physics – but solve the problem). Come on, we are talking about making usable vehicles that AVERAGE 35.5MPG! That means you can have some work trucks that are less and some passenger vehicles that are more efficient than the standard.

    Given that Europe is doing 45MPG (based on posts here) – how does this fit in the “can’t be done” category? It smells like ideology defining what is technically possible – ironically exactly what the original post was railing against!

  81. Mike said

    I was wondering what kind of sales ratios car companies might need to meet the new standards.

    If the 2015 standard is 35.5 MPG, and you looked a hypothetical tiny auto company which will be selling only two models – a compact getting 45 MPG and a small SUV getting 18 – then, by the way the feds calculate, they’d need to sell 4.61 compacts for every SUV sold to just make the standards.

    If their compact only got 42 MPG, they’d need to sell 6.29 compacts for every SUV. At 40 MPG, the ratio becomes 8.65 to 1.

    The worse the ratio, the lower the compact prices have to be to sell enough to meet CAFE, and the higher the SUV prices have to be for the company to make a decent profit.

    If anyone wants to play with the numbers, here’s the formula for the two-model calculation:

    V = (C – M2) / (M2 – C*M2/M1)

    Where:

    V = the volume of high-mileage cars that must be sold for every low-mileage car;
    C = the CAFE mileage standard you’re trying to meet
    M1 = high-mileage car’s MPG;
    M2 = low-mileage car’s MPG.

    For more than two models, you can calculate CAFE average mileage for sales volumes (V1, V2, V3, …) and MPGs (M1, M2, M3, …) as:

    C = (V1 + V2 + V3 + … + Vn) / (V1/M1 + V2/M2 + V3/M3 + … + Vn/Mn)

  82. Jim Brock said

    I drive a 2003 Town Car. I expect to drive it a total of at least 150,000 miles. I dunno about the pollution factor, but it makes good economic sense.

    But the Smart Car sure is cute.

  83. Jeff Id said

    #80 you cannot convert the entire country to deisel. It won’t work. As to the lighter cars all together is just as safe, there will always be trucks, pickup trucks and SUV’s so you’ve missed it in my opinion.

    You guys watch, we will not be even close to the standard in 2016 and the result will be as I said– taxes.

    BTW, I got to ride in my first prius today, 50 mpg, decent ride. It is very small though. I’m not a huge guy but I found the seats restricting.

  84. BlueIce2HotSea said

    Curious #79

    It does look fun! But did it have independent rear suspension, all-wheel drive AND room for mom & dad & three children in car seats under the age of three? Plus strollers, playpen, etc…

    Thoughtful Tom #80

    The difficulty is more than technology, it’s also a poor economy and political resistance.

    Hitler is given credit for commissioning the economical VW, Autobahn, and sea-side vacation resorts. It’s not the end that is objectionable, it’s the means. It comes with a lot of baggage.

    But rest easy, Europe’s fawning adoration for megalomaniac sociopaths is slowly catching on here. Give us some more time. Remember, most of the people here are descendents of people who fled such things elsewhere.

  85. jknapp said

    To all the Europeans that think they are doing a great thing for the environment by using deisel;

    Haven’t there been several studies showing that much of glacier melt is due to particulates that are put out by deisel motors. In addition, I think I remember a study that showed that much of the warming over the Indian ocean was due to particulates coming out of India. Again, due in part to deisel engines.

  86. Thoughtful Tom said

    #83 – I agree – thank you, I in fact missed that when I posted but saw it in other posts. However diesel fuel mileage stands as a counter to the argument that it can’t be done. Some diesel, some better gas engines, some all electric, some hybrid on all of the above and you can EASILY get to this goal.

    I believe a current year Lexus hybrid SUV gets 30+MPG. All that American luxury with fuel economy (sadly made by them “fareners”).

    Which brings me to my next point. There has been some discussion about why American’s buy gas guzzlers. And it was accurately pointed out that American auto makers make much more money on gas guzzling SUVS (My reading shows this is true – if for some reason you doubt it – look it up yourself. GM has complained for years that they lose money on their fuel efficient vehicles).

    So if there were no auto advertising, and we bought cars the way be buy groceries – making our own choices without a salesman or dealer “helping” us (and assume here no advertising for groceries) AND we got the same results then sure, we Americans do luv us some SUV!

    But, in the real world, car companies advertise incessantly. American car companies push behemoths (where they make money). Every dealer pushes their victims customers towards the expensive vehicles, which are the big ones, where they make their profit. I experienced this last week at a local dealership, where my girlfriend went in shopping for the best fuel mileage in the vehicle class she wanted and was very strongly pushed towards the bigger, more expensive, less fuel efficient model.

    Don’t want to believe me? Go car shopping. Tell ’em you want mileage in the 30s and a big car for your family. Watch them sell the mileage down the river to sell you a large, expensive, crappy mileage SUV (and we have the Toyota Lexus as the proof that you can have:
    1) SUV
    2) Big
    3) Luxury
    4) Decent mileage).

    The “American’s WANT behemoths” argument is simply not true. Detroit, by way of Madison avenue, wants Americans to want behemoths.

  87. Kon Dealer said

    Jeff, we have Prius’s (often called Pious) over here and most people think them a bad joke.
    I drive a seven seater MPV which is faster, better handling, looks better and also does more MPG in the real world.

    A TV petrol-head over here, Jeremy Clarkson, did a head to head with a Pious and a BMW 5 Series over about 1000 miles. Guess which had the better fuel economy?
    Not the Pious.

    Jeremy also thinks American cars are rubbish- with perhaps the exception of the Dodge Viper.

  88. Farmer said

    Demanding all car makers to meet CAFE standards is silly. Why does GM have to make high milage cars? They are good at making trucks and large SUVs. Let them build them, and someone else can make the smaller ones. If Caterpillar had to meet CAFE, they would be forced to build lawn mowers.

  89. BlueIce2HotSea said

    I wanted my SUV. Drove nearly everything there was over a two year span. More than once. I was close to spending twice as much for a nicer one by a different manufacturer.

    But, I purchased the most practical and economical SUV for my circumstances. In the end, what sold me was the huge amount of CO2 it releases into the atmosphere. Just doin’ my part.

  90. RC Saumarez said

    The whole history of regulation is the Law of Unexpected Consequences. We, in Europe have had a large body of regulation that appears to conform to this rule.

    I would suggest that the market decides who drives what, because centrally directed regulation usually makes things worse.

    (If I sound like a cynic, it is because I am grappling with the huge volume of EU regulation regarding a particular product. To say that the regulations are poorly drafted, mutually contradictory, obscure and hugely expensive does not do justice to the huge advances that the EU has achieved in the field of regulation)

  91. Mike S. said

    I’ve been doing a bit more research, and man, this is a mess to calculate.

    Problem #1 – MPG on the sticker and MPG for CAFE purposes are not the same; they’re calculated using different tests (Hmmm mentioned this way back up in posts #12 and #15, but I found some specific numbers online). A 2009 Chevy Colorado 4×4, which gets 16 MPG city and 22 MPG highway according to the EPA, counts as getting 24.16 MPG for CAFE purposes. A 2009 Jeep Patriot 4×4 shows an EPA 20/22 MPG rating but 29.15 MPG for CAFE purposes.

    Problem #2 – Special credits. Flexible-fuel vehicles, which can run on E85, get additional credits in the calculations. So, a 2009 Chevy HHR FFV, which gets the same EPA 16/22 as the Colorado 4×4, counts as an adjusted 39.21 MPG for CAFE purposes. That’s higher than the non-FFV Ford Focus, which gets a 31/46 from the EPA but only an unadjusted 36.00 for CAFE purposes (as an aside, this is the answer to Telecorder’s post #32 – the ethanol dip in fuel efficiency is more than made up for by the CAFE adjustments).

    Problem #3 – There’s no direct way to calculate CAFE numbers from EPA numbers. The 2009 Checy Malibu Hybrid gets a 26/34 from the EPA, both lower than the Focus, but its unadjusted CAFE rating is a slightly higher 38.58.

    I got these numbers from a Missouri DNR document with 2009 model values; the URL is http://www.dnr.mo.gov/energy/transportation/docs/cafe-ratings-2009.pdf.

  92. Mike S. said

    Looking back over the Missouri DNR document, I wonder if the number for the Focus is a misprint. It’s the only vehicle on the whole sheet whose CAFE number is lower than the EPA highway rating.

  93. Ryan O said

    My opinions:

    1. THE BIGGIE! People really need to stop comparing the MPG estimates in Europe and elsewhere to US standards. Apples and oranges, people. A car that gets 45 MPG in Europe gets about 30 – 35 here. The standards are completely different. Besides, I’ve driven some of those European cars (like the Fiat 500). Yep, the Fiat 500 gets better gas mileage than my 2010 Outback. But a strong breeze and a pebble in the road would turn it into an aircraft at highway speeds.

    2. The new standards and current sticker-listed EPA values are different. To put this in perspective, cars will have to show an average combined EPA fuel efficiency of about 31 mpg and trucks about 22 mpg, based on the current sales ratios ( http://green.autoblog.com/2010/04/01/new-federal-cafe-standards-officially-released-34-1-mpg-by-2016/ ).

    2. There are several options (some not mentioned so far) that can help meet these standards:

    a. CVTs. CVTs are no longer just for motorcycles and light cars. Not that Dodge always makes the best decisions (vis a vis their radiator sizing decisions), CVTs are available on some models even with the Hemi engines. Fuji Heavy Industries (owns Subaru) has put CVTs on the 2010 Outbacks, as well as supplying CVTs to other companies, such as Nissan. I own a 2010 Outback . . . and the sticker combined fuel efficiency is 24 mpg. Pretty close to the standard, and the 2010 Outback is a rather heavy vehicle, especially since it is no longer based on the Legacy frame.

    b. Automatic start/stop. No need for this to be a feature exclusive to hybrids.

    c. Cylinder idling during periods of low acceleration. Hell . . . even Cadillac does this. Again, no engineering reason this could not be incorporated into all vehicles.

    d. There is no engineering reason other hybrid concepts (regenerative braking, electric drive assist, low speed drive assist) could not be incorporated into larger cars and more small SUVs/trucks . . . mitigating the amount that heavy trucks like F250s need to improve.

    e. Increasing use of turbochargers on cars to reduce the necessary horsepower generation of the engine. Again, no engineering reason prevents this.

    The above are items which can be done without compromising safety. Obviously, there is also the engineering option of removing weight . . . which has an impact on safety. Diesel is an option of sorts, but I think the logistics and consumer desires make that a non-starter.

    So my beef with the legislation isn’t the increases in standards. I personally think it can be done with current technology. The roadblocks will be in manufacturing these items – such as CVTs – in sufficient quantities to make fleet-wide implementation an option. Not trivial. Additionally, I wonder where the investment money will come from to tool up for these things for, say, GM and Chrysler. My bet is it will be our tax dollars . . . well spent yet again.

    My beefs with the legislation are these:

    1. Incentives for all-electrics. What a bunch of bullshit. Since all of the surge electric power generation in this country is necessarily fossil fuel, once you add up the power generation efficiency (about 37% for coal, which comprises 50% of our power generation), conversion losses (~1%), transmission losses (~7%), local distribution losses (~2%), step-down losses (~1%), battery conversion losses (~25%), and electric motor losses (~8%) – and please remember that these losses are multiplicative – total CO2 output increases with electric car use. Electric cars make idiots who can’t add past 10 without taking off their shoes feel good. F!*@*ng ridiculous.

    2. Ethanol. When is the government going to give this one up? The current cost per gallon to synthesize corn ethanol is about $10 – $12. And guess what it takes to grow the corn? Natural gas! In fact, it takes 28 cubic feet of natural gas (or about 28,000 BTUs worth of natural gas) to produce enough fertilizer to grow enough corn to make 1 gallon of corn-based ethanol (with an energy content of 76,000 BTUs) for a net of 48,000 BTUs. How many BTUs in a gallon of gasoline? About 125,000. Additionally, a Cornell study indicated that the total energy cost to produce a gallon of ethanol can be as high as 131,000 BTUs – or a net loss of 54,000 BTUs ( http://www.c4aqe.org/Economics_of_Ethanol/ethanol.2005.pdf ). On top of all that, on a gallon-to-gallon basis E85 ethanol blends (85% ethanol) only reduce emissions by about 20 – 30% . . . which means on a BTU-to-BTU basis, they increase total emissions by 10%. Hmm. Maybe if we use regularized multivariate regression techniques we can flip that net increase in emissions upside down!

    Now those are my beefs.

  94. curious said

    84 – No problem: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/3089851/Hulton-Archive – little ones and kit should be a doddle….

    And they’re good round town too, can handle the wet and integrate well with public transport:

    … Shame the end of life option looks a bit of an enviro no no though😦

  95. BlueIce2HotSea said

    When a bought a Toyota Corolla in 1978, I heard these things:

    Japanese/small cars are junk.
    Where will you get it fixed?
    You won’t be able to get it fixed.

    My answer then is the same as my answer is today to those that believe American cars are junk: your information is obsolete.

  96. Andrew said

    86-Someone is a complete idiot-look, it doesn’t matter how much advertising you do-people CHOOSE of their own free will to buy those cars!

    There is no point in even talking to anyone who can’t understand that.

    “It is great for you to say well screw that – for my family it is the biggest possible vehicle. Given the real world constraints (ie in the real world their are constraints on resources) not EVERYONE can drive a bigger behemoth than the person next to them. So the safety argument is pretty much bogus.”

    WTF? Wealth has nothing to do with this! You can’t understand that “rich” people’s lives matter? You can’t understand that what happens when you raise fuel economy standards is that all cars get smaller and lighter, and less safe, including the cheap ones?

    Are you so blinded by your marxist idiocy that you can’t understand that?

    I feel like you need to be forced to read The Wealth Of Nations.

  97. curious said

    Ryan 0 – amen re: electric and ethanol. In the UK they are determined to put public electric charge points around urban areas at £30k a go!

  98. Mike S. said

    Ryan O #93 – Not only doesn’t it look like the government is giving up on ethanol anytime soon, given the serious adjustments they make to CAFE ratings for cars that can use it (as I noted in #91), I’d say they want to greatly expand its use. Insane.

  99. Thoughtful Tom said

    1. Incentives for all-electrics. What a bunch of bullshit. Since all of the surge electric power generation in this country is necessarily fossil fuel, once you add up the power generation efficiency (about 37% for coal, which comprises 50% of our power generation), conversion losses (~1%), transmission losses (~7%), local distribution losses (~2%), step-down losses (~1%), battery conversion losses (~25%), and electric motor losses (~8%) – and please remember that these losses are multiplicative – total CO2 output increases with electric car use. Electric cars make idiots who can’t add past 10 without taking off their shoes feel good. F!*@*ng ridiculous.

    Electric cars without solar or other alternative energy source is idiotic. Transmission losses in your analysis seem low. But the whole point of electric is to use alternative fuel. Don’t even those of you who reflexively criticize solar see the benefit of using electricity (mostly generated from your own power plant) as sticking it to the oil-toting strongmen of the Middle East?

    I also don’t know that your overall analysis is correct. I started out thinking it was the dumbest idea ever uttered as electricity from coal is a pretty polluting way to get your mobile energy. Subsequent research showed it was better, pollution wise, than gas (lets assume “than 20MPG gas” – roughly the current fleet average). Battery conversion losses seem particular large, but I am at this moment, too lazy to come up with a number I think is more believable.

    It appears I may be vulnerable to some discussion of peak loads. If I charge the grid all day long – when industry and A/Cs are running full blast, then pull electrons out at night to charge my car – it appears I am providing utilities with a flatter curve for energy demand and lowering everyone’s cost. I expect I will get a big thank you from the local monopoly!

  100. Thoughtful Tom said

    86-Someone is a complete idiot-look, it doesn’t matter how much advertising you do-people CHOOSE of their own free will to buy those cars!

    There is no point in even talking to anyone who can’t understand that.

    “It is great for you to say well screw that – for my family it is the biggest possible vehicle. Given the real world constraints (ie in the real world their are constraints on resources) not EVERYONE can drive a bigger behemoth than the person next to them. So the safety argument is pretty much bogus.”

    Not sure I want to join you in a round of name calling. But I will grant you SOMEONE is confused! The discussion of free will is really a different topic. Do some research into marketing – it works! Given that marketing works and that American car companies make more money selling behemoths – the fact that we buy behemoths basically follows. If, instead, you were marketed on the value of saving fuel, easier parking, more relative power, cheaper initial price, lower operating cost, etc. the buying choices would change.

    You may not believe the world has many sheeple in it. But you may not believe in gravity either. Doesn’t stop things from falling, rather than floating in place.

    WTF? Wealth has nothing to do with this! You can’t understand that “rich” people’s lives matter? You can’t understand that what happens when you raise fuel economy standards is that all cars get smaller and lighter, and less safe, including the cheap ones?

    Are you so blinded by your marxist idiocy that you can’t understand that?

    I feel like you need to be forced to read The Wealth Of Nations.

    Did I mention that someone is confused? Mark T tells us “The energy of an impact only goes up linearly with mass, but with the velocity squared. The difference between a large car and a small car is not that great (in terms of order of magnitude), but the ability of the large car to protect its occupants is vastly superior.”

    The vastly superior bit is not explained, and is not directly supported by the evidence provided, but the basic relevant rules of physics are conveniently provided. If you REALLY want to be safer – drive slower. If everyone has a lighter car – less carnage, less death. As I understand it, safety comes from things like crumple zones, air bags, a solid uniframe. These things are only very loosely related to overall weight. RELATIVE safety comes from having more mass. Surely you can see that not everyone can win the more mass game?

    When did common sense become marxist? I missed the memo.

  101. Ryan O said

    Tom,

    Your hand-waving arguments with no analysis or supporting documentation are quite unbecoming. Try becoming “Research Tom” or “Calculating Tom” and a meaningful discussion might ensue.

  102. Sean said

    For all of you questioning the wisdom of ethanol in gasoline, you are missing its true purpose. Its in there to purchase farm state senate votes for legislation they would otherwise reject. By the way, if a cap and trade bill comes before the senate, don’t be surprised to see a move to 15% ethanol in gasoline.

  103. Ryan O said

    #102 😉 Most of us who question ethanol understand exactly what it’s real purpose is. It’s the same purpose that causes us to place ridiculously high tariffs on cane-based ethanol from South America . . . which happens to have a positive energy balance (though still suffers from the overall increase in emissions problem).

  104. Thoughtful Tom said

    #101 – The vast majority of my “hand waiving” is basic science and our fellow readers can handle me not going to first principles on every little detail. I find that tedious (like the exposition on rolling friction).

    It is both educational and tedious. If you find something I post not likely based on your knowledge – do some research and challenge it. I can then either let it be, or come up with some links that support my statements. Read post 80, 83 and 86 to see I have no problem being corrected if I am wrong, and am very capable of shoring up my points (it is relatively easy as I start with valid points to start with).

    There is too much name calling on these sites and I am getting both frustrated and bored by it. If you have something to say, SAY IT – leave your opinion of my posting name, intelligence or all these other low brow techniques out of it.

    Or keep on keeping on with the ad hominum attacks. Your choice. At least so far you haven’t conflated common sense with Marxism.

  105. Ryan O said

    #102

    Since you apparently do not mind being corrected, I imagine you will appreciate the following correction:

    An ad hominem argument is an argument which links the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise.

    1 : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
    2 : marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

    Stating a truth [your arguments are hand-waving with no analysis or supporting documentation] that you yourself agreed with in #99 [self-admittedly too lazy to look up battery conversion losses] does not constitute an ad hominem argument. Ironic sarcasm – like “Calculating Tom” – also does not constitute an ad hominem argument, since it not a reference to any characteristic or belief of yours, but rather a reference to the aforementioned behavior wherein you assert something as true with no analysis or references.

    In particular, I believe the following from Stephen Bond is particularly applicable (emphasis mine):

    One of the most widely misused terms on the Net is “ad hominem”. It is most often introduced into a discussion by certain delicate types, delicate of personality and mind, whenever their opponents resort to a bit of sarcasm. As soon as the suspicion of an insult appears, they summon the angels of ad hominem to smite down their foes, before ascending to argument heaven in a blaze of sanctimonious glory. They may not have much up top, but by God, they don’t need it when they’ve got ad hominem on their side. It’s the secret weapon that delivers them from any argument unscathed.

    In reality, ad hominem is unrelated to sarcasm or personal abuse. Argumentum ad hominem is the logical fallacy of attempting to undermine a speaker’s argument by attacking the speaker instead of addressing the argument. The mere presence of a personal attack does not indicate ad hominem: the attack must be used for the purpose of undermining the argument, or otherwise the logical fallacy isn’t there. It is not a logical fallacy to attack someone; the fallacy comes from assuming that a personal attack is also necessarily an attack on that person’s arguments.

    Therefore, if you can’t demonstrate that your opponent is trying to counter your argument by attacking you, you can’t demonstrate that he is resorting to ad hominem. If your opponent’s sarcasm is not an attempt to counter your argument, but merely an attempt to insult you (or amuse the bystanders), then it is not part of an ad hominem argument.

    Actual instances of argumentum ad hominem are relatively rare. Ironically, the fallacy is most often committed by those who accuse their opponents of ad hominem, since they try to dismiss the opposition not by engaging with their arguments, but by claiming that they resort to personal attacks. Those who are quick to squeal “ad hominem” are often guilty of several other logical fallacies, including one of the worst of all: the fallacious belief that introducing an impressive-sounding Latin term somehow gives one the decisive edge in an argument.

    http://plover.net/~bonds/adhominem.html

  106. OccamsEdge said

    for someone raised in Europe or NZ the concept of distance does not scale to the US

    while I have to drive in Europe (last month in Rennes with a new Citron 3CV) yes it did get good gas (diesel) millage and was rather peppy with just me in it – four full sized adults was a different story and it was just around town but I’m not quite ready to replace my primary driver (yeah, I’m one of those pickup drivers) but if I could come up with a replacement that I can cruse 500+ miles at 70+ (MPH not KPH) nonstop (I live several hours from the nearest airport and after the return to the US security check I canceled my prostrate and proctology exams – I’m good, anything less than 500 miles is a no brainer – I’m driving) – sometimes pulling a 5th wheel that I’ll live in for the next few weeks (OK so I can’t quite get 500 miles with the 5th wheel but still) while toting tools and test equipment – and then climb a mountain top access road that hasn’t been used in a few years (one site took me 3 days to clear fallen trees on the road, did I mention that its a 4wd and there is a winch front and rear? tool chest holds chain saw)

    yes its a diesel, 6spd (12 if you count the low range) manual and if I’m not hauling the 5th wheel averages 20+ mpg

  107. timetochooseagain said

    You hate the rich, you think consumers are victims. That is not common sense that’s marxist drivel.

    Lighter cars are more dangerous, It doesn’t matter if “everyone” can’t win the “mass game” as you call it-this isn’t about “fair”, when everyone’s car is lighter YES more people will die! Everyone driving around in tiny slow cars may appeal to you but you are incredibly stupid if you think that’s better than the way things are now, and not worse.

  108. timetochooseagain said

    By the way, do you know why marketing works! Marketing gets TESTED FOR HOW PEOPLE RESPOND TO IT!!!

    Marketing “works” because people advertise what they know people will like! When people want fuel economy, car makers brag about gas mileage-it TESTS WELL! When people want big cars, THAT’S WHAT GETS “PUSHED”!

    You’ve got it bass ackwards!

  109. BlueIce2HotSea said

    Thoughtful Tom #86

    …my girlfriend went in shopping … and was … pushed towards the … more expensive …

    GASP!!
    Thoughtful Tom #86

    If I charge the grid all day long…then pull electrons out at night…

    The grid is not a battery. You are correct in that your car has a battery.
    Thoughtful Tom #100

    If everyone has a lighter car – less carnage, less death.

    This insight is half true. If additional safety features are added to those cars, everyone has a heavier car – less carnage, less death.
    I along with many others here have treated you a bit rough. You do come across as a young Marxist who has only read one book. And whether that is true or not is relevant to engineers and other analytic problem solvers. We wish to find as many solutions to a problem that there is time for and offer a best sample to decision makers. We deeply resent being manipulated into providing false solutions.

  110. Greg F said

    #99

    If I charge the grid all day long – when industry and A/Cs are running full blast, then pull electrons out at night to charge my car – it appears I am providing utilities with a flatter curve for energy demand and lowering everyone’s cost.

    No. Distribution transformers are not designed to run under those load conditions. They heat up during the day when the load is heavy and cool down at night when the load drops off. Expect to replace a lot of blown transformers due to over heating under your scenario. The whole electric car scenario is pie in the sky at this point in time at several different levels.

    1. The batteries don’t exist.
    2. The grid infrastructure to charge the non-existent batteries doesn’t exist.
    3. The generating capacity doesn’t exist.

    One is unlikely to be solved in the near future. Both 2 and 3 are possible but there is no political will to address them with any realistic plan. The whole idea of electric cars on a mass scale is only possible in a comic book reality.

  111. Mark T said

    Thoughtful Tom said
    April 7, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Not sure I want to join you in a round of name calling. But I will grant you SOMEONE is confused!

    Hehe, you accuse him of name calling then… insult him.

    You are indeed the same hypocrite that went by Actually Thoughtless, er, Thoughtful.

    The discussion of free will is really a different topic.

    I’m beginning to think there’s not much you actually understand. Free will is what drives demand.

    Do some research into marketing – it works!

    As has been since noted, it works for a reason… duh.

    Given that marketing works and that American car companies make more money selling behemoths – the fact that we buy behemoths basically follows.

    Wow, like, Q.E.D.? What a maroon, as Bugs would say. You really should take a dose of your own medicine and study how and why this stuff works. American car companies have been trying for years to market cars that just won’t sell. Why is that? Because people ultimately buy what they want, i.e., demand! Duh.

    Did I mention that someone is confused?

    Yeah, you. Did I already mention that you’re a hypocrite?

    The vastly superior bit is not explained, and is not directly supported by the evidence provided, but the basic relevant rules of physics are conveniently provided.

    Because it is obvious? A large car absorbs vastly more energy which thus transfers less to the occupant.

    If you REALLY want to be safer – drive slower.

    Gee, what about the safety hazard that creates on I-70 when the speed limit is 75 mph?

    If everyone has a lighter car – less carnage, less death.

    Um, no. Do you just make these things up?

    As I understand it, safety comes from things like crumple zones, air bags, a solid uniframe. These things are only very loosely related to overall weight. RELATIVE safety comes from having more mass. Surely you can see that not everyone can win the more mass game?

    Physics. Study, learn, before continuing to demonstrate to the rest of us that you haven’t done either previously.

    When did common sense become marxist? I missed the memo

    You have neither common sense nor a sense for logic, you didn’t miss the memo, you missed the boat.

    Mark

  112. Mark T said

    BlueIce2HotSea said
    April 7, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    I along with many others here have treated you a bit rough. You do come across as a young Marxist who has only read one book.

    He deserves it for arguing points he clearly does not understand.

    Mark

  113. Raven said

    #111 – His thesis sounds plausible. Where is your evidence that once factors like crumple zones are controlled for that heavy vehicles save lives?

    I remember reading one study that showed that driving an SUV increased your chances of an accident in snowy weather because SUV drivers were less cautious in the driving.

  114. Mark T said

    Mass, Raven. Mass absorbs energy, but it is not as significant a contributor to the original energy in the first place. The whole point of added mass is that the car absorbs the impact, not the occupant. I mentioned that already, did nobody read that?

    And, for the record, a solid frame is a big mass, crumple zones add mass (need to be big to have effective ones, duh), as all the other things that strengthen a vehicle add mass.

    I remember reading one study that showed that driving an SUV increased your chances of an accident in snowy weather because SUV drivers were less cautious in the driving.

    What does this have to do with the discussion? We aren’t talking about whether large or small cars are more prone to accidents.

    Mark

  115. Thoughtful Tom said

    OK – Ad hominem dude – I was wrong in my spelling of the phrase. You are guilty of not knowing what an ad hominem attack is. Read Andrew’s post # 101. That is an ad hominem attack according to your post 105. And why are you picking on Sean? Funny you can post and highlight, but seem to lack understanding of what you are posting.
    ________________
    108 – to my mind that is a very naive world view. You are of course welcome to it. You may be a person that thinks free markets can do no wrong, in my observations of human nature and corporate behavior I find that untrue.

    ________________
    109 – do you have a point? “The grid is not a battery” – you are factually correct but wrong about how the grid looks for grid tied solar. It looks like a battery and will for a long time. Presumably in that time, we will figure out shifting energy harvesting from the daytime to the night. Pumping water uphill and phase changing materials (heat storage) are two possibilities that may have legs. This could also be a use of the hydrogen economy that everyone got so confused about the first time out.

    “You do come across as a young Marxist who has only read one book” and you come across as an arrogant ****. I care about the ideas and the logic. The grade school posturing is about as interesting to me as it was in grade school. I realize most people really enjoy it. I am used to being the odd man out.

    ________________
    110 – 1 is a technical problem that can be solved – I have seen no evidence that we have unsurmountable materials challenges here. It is a matter of time. The debate, of course, is how much time.

    2 seems to be fading as new homes are being built with 200-400 amp services. Or am I missing your point? It doesn’t seem like an electric car in every other driveway is that different than running A/C every night. Perhaps the grid can’t handle that much extra capacity?

    3 Capacity can be added very quickly with renewables. Slightly slower with a gas power plant. If you have a really long time you could throw up a nuke. I just don’t see how that translates to pie in the sky. If that is indeed the correct thing to do, it appears to be an approachable problem.

    I am not convinced an electric fleet is the way to go, although I am warming to the idea. Your three points seem more like things to deal with, rather than show stoppers.
    _______________

    Apropos of nothing – ethanol is one of the worst ideas ever. Not just for the whole fuel for food thing. But environmentally is a turkey. Only politicians and huge agri-corporations with their own lobbyists support it. But sadly, that is all it takes.

  116. BlueIce2HotSea said

    Thoughtful Tom #115

    I care about the ideas and the logic.

    And truth. You forgot to mention truth.

    Throw that in there too, and one day we will all end up agreeing with each other.

  117. Thoughtful Tom said

    #115 Amen to that. I’m sure we can clash on marxist common sense and who the jack booted man really is.

  118. BlueIce2HotSea said

    #117
    Haven’t heard about either of those things.

    For the real jackboot man, I’ll take three guesses: Napolean, Stalin and Hitler. They all wore jackboots, right? Did I get it?

  119. Actually Thoughtful said

    You are indeed the same hypocrite that went by Actually Thoughtless, er, Thoughtful.

    Gee you are a genius with the insults! 8th grade must have been a blast with you – I can’t imagine all the fun the objects of your hostility enjoyed!

    BlueIce2HotSea said
    April 7, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    I along with many others here have treated you a bit rough. You do come across as a young Marxist who has only read one book.
    ________
    He deserves it for arguing points he clearly does not understand.

    Mark

    .
    Hmm. Here we have you commenting on someone else’s comments about me – yet you raise no point about what I actually said. If only it were true that you said nothing, as you clearly have nothing to say.

    I’m beginning to think there’s not much you actually understand. Free will is what drives demand.

    Oooh Where can I get me some of that unearned arrogance?! You make your statement – no justification for it. Free will drives demand. Huh. I thought free will drove a Porsche. Just checked. Asinine appears to be the right word for you.

    Wow, like, Q.E.D.? What a maroon, as Bugs would say. You really should take a dose of your own medicine and study how and why this stuff works. American car companies have been trying for years to market cars that just won’t sell. Why is that? Because people ultimately buy what they want, i.e., demand! Duh.

    Riiiiiiiight. American car companies have been selling behemoths to the right wing sheeple for years while foreign manufacturers eat their lunch in almost all other segments. You don’t even have to understand marketing. How about just being aware of the facts? Did Japan bail out Honda? Or Toyota?

    The only American car company that remains unscathed is the one that has embraced quality and various energy saving technologies. Why can Ford market its hybrids and fuel efficient vehicles and GM cannot? Is it the inherent demand of GM customers vs Ford customers? Or is it a coherent marketing plan? Or perhaps a convenient conspiracy theory? The gov’ment must be to blame somehow.

    Did I mention that someone is confused?

    Yeah, you. Did I already mention that you’re a hypocrite?

    Ooooh. I think you are lecturing me about the sins of calling people names by calling me names. Were you absent the day the rest of your 8th grade class learned about irony? Or do you just not have a sense of humor?

    If everyone has a lighter car – less carnage, less death.

    Um, no. Do you just make these things up?

    Sigh. And again. Sigh. Do a little thought experiment. Crash into a fellow bicyclist with your bicycle at 5 MPH. Now crash into your fellow Hummer driver at 80 MPH. Now you being the clever contrarian may take the Hummer collision, banking on your mass equations. I’ll take the bike. And hope you take the Hummer.

    To complete the above – now crash the Hummer into the bike. At that point I would rather be in the Hummer – although it is a pretty sad thought experiment.

    My point stands – mass and speed kill. It is funhouse-mirror logic to say if only we could make it big enough we could crash all day long and walk away. And again you only really win if YOU have the bigger vehicle. And not everyone can achieve being the biggest. And are you aware what happened to the Hummer brand, even WITH all the great marketing and cache of being a military vehicle in a time of war?

    You have neither common sense nor a sense for logic, you didn’t miss the memo, you missed the boat.

    Mark I’ve avoided your posts so far on this blog as my Spidy sense told me you were a bully. You have now proved it. I quoted your reasonable bit about mass and speed as it relates to car crashes, so I felt compelled to at least respond. I will not trouble you with another response.

    You may or may not be as smart as you think you are, but you are certainly not smart enough to understand another person’s arguments and point of view before you “refute” them by calling them names and trying to minimize their point of view with what I am sure appears to you to be clever prose.

    If you wanted to persuade people you would present facts and ask questions. If you wanted to show off your impressive intelligence and attempt to impress the ladies by your rapier wit you would lead with bellicose and belittling statements. How is that working out for you?

    Funny how you went point by point through my post, but at no time added any light to the discussion. Heat – yes, but no information that might persuade or educate all us unwashed masses.

    (I’m not ignoring you mass bit – your claim is that additional mass is basically free to accelerate and saves us all in the unfortunate event of a crash – you conveniently forget that that is what we are discussing, whether the only way to achieve the proscribed fuel mileage is to drop the supposedly “free” mass).

    And the fact that objects have mass does not prove that crumple zone require extreme mass, and can only be made more effective with additional mass. Surely a material and construction that allows the crash energy to flow around the passenger compartment is superior, or at least worth of consideration, to filling the fenders with concrete ala the Dukes of Hazard. Or shocks in the bumpers to absorb some of the impact. I don’t think I am proposing radical safety techniques here. Just marxismcommon sense. I am sure you railed against that nut job who got car companies to provide seat belts and airbags (those darn super high mass life savers!) too.

    That mass = safety is valid in a limited way. The notion that mass is the only path to safety reveals a severe lack of creativity (or a very Catholic worldview).

    Tom

  120. Actually Thoughtful said

    For the real jackboot man, I’ll take three guesses: Napolean, Stalin and Hitler. They all wore jackboots, right? Did I get it?

    In my mind the original jackbooted tool of the man was the SS. I’m really not sure of the exact origin.

    I suspect, in modern times and based on reading 2 or 3 of your posts (ie very, very little) that you would be more likely to find the jackboot fellas in the gov’ment, and I find them in the large, soulless corporations who BY DEFINITION only exist to extract profit from us mere mortals.

    So plenty to discuss with logic, truth and ideas.

  121. Raven said

    #119 – Ford avoid bankruptcy because its CEO thought it would be a great idea to refinance all of its debt right before the crisis. This ensured it had plenty of cash on hand when the storm hit. It would have been in the same position as GM if the its CEO did not have the foresight.

  122. curious said

    114 – Mass does not equal safety.

    Run at a wall with a 3ft*6in*6in solid steel bar horizontally in front of you with one end against your chest. It’s going to stop you dead, acting like a punch into your rib cage and hurt a lot. Do the same with a 3ft thick pillow and its going to slow you down more gradually and hurt a lot less. Crumple zones do not need to be massive – they need to be designed in such a way as to deform and absorb the 1/2 mv2 of motion progressively. This reduces the maximum deceleration occupants are subject to and hence reduces the injury potential.

    Lots more to it than this obviously (ie designing so the path of non deformable and massive items like the engine block does not pass through a vehicle occupant etc) but it is good design, driving environment and dynamics which provides safety. Not maximum metal.

  123. Ryan O said

    Thoughtful Tom,

    Again . . . lots of assertions, yet not a calculation or reference among them (yet somehow still dripping with a patronizing tone). Good show! I expected nothing else.

    Since a meaningful discussion is obviously not going to ensue, I will leave you with this:

    OK – Ad hominem dude – I was wrong in my spelling of the phrase. You are guilty of not knowing what an ad hominem attack is. Read Andrew’s post # 101. That is an ad hominem attack according to your post 105. And why are you picking on Sean? Funny you can post and highlight, but seem to lack understanding of what you are posting.

    What’s ironic about this picture?

  124. Ryan O said

    Curious,

    Properly building crumple zones requires extra space and structure be dedicated that otherwise would not need to be. So while it is true that mass itself is not the primary factor, [holding all other things equal] proper design of the crumple zones necessarily increases the mass of the car.

  125. Hmmm said

    Kon Dealer #87

    Listening to Jeremy Clarkson about cars is like listening to Al Gore about global warming. Seriously. He is an idiot who doesn’t know how to do a “real world” comparison test. Yes it is possible to constantly rev a Prius to red line and get bad gas mileage out of it. I don’t even like Priuses and hate the “halo” and “smugness” and the whole look of the cars, but Jeremy Clarkson’s test was obvious, absolute total crap.

    That’s the kind of BS slanted test I would expect from a global warming alarmist trying to prove their point.

    I wouldn’t go around promoting it.

  126. curious said

    Ryan – I was responding to Mark at 114 where he is claiming “Mass absorbs energy”. True, but the biggest factor is how the mass is distributed and arranged – shape and structural considerations are by far the biggest factors. Take a thin wall tube and replace it with a tubular lattice – lighter as well as more energy absorbing in compression failure.

    Though I can see where you are coming from re: with/without crumple zones I’m not convinced it’s really true. Given you need a certain supporting structure to achieve the aerodynamic, functional and aesthetic envelope of a vehicle designing in a way for impact is really IMO not likely to add much marginal weight. In the case of things like engine mounts and layouts I think there are possibly even weight reductions by combining structural uses with impact absorbing capacity. Look at the historical crash worthiness of cars – IMO there have been massive (ho ho!) improvements without increases in weight.

  127. BlueIce2HotSea said

    Actually Thoughtful (Tom) #120

    you would be more likely to find the jackboot fellas in the gov’ment, and I find them in the large, soulless corporations

    You almost have it. In a free-market, anti-monopolistic environment the jackboots would be found in organized crime. In an anarchistic, libertarian environment (the Mogadishu Model) where you might find large, souless, monopolistic corporations with large private security forces, there you will find the jackboots. But the Great Attractor for jackboots, of course, is an over-powerful gov’ment. Recall Willie Sutton’s supposed answer to the question “Why do you rob banks?”: “because that’s where the money is.”

    Free-market types hold that unforced transactions are sustainable when both buyer and seller profit.

    Marxists hold that profit is unnecessary provided all transactions are forced.

  128. Kon Dealer said

    Hmmmm (125) are you saying that Jeremy Clarkson is an AGW alarmist?
    I rather think not.
    The whole point of the Prius v BMW test was that in real World conditions people like to use the heater/air con/radio as and when and, horror of horrors, use the pedal called the accelerator.

    If the Pious struggled to keep up with the BMW and does less MPG as a result is that the fault of the test?

  129. michel said

    what I’m telling people is that we figured out how to have the most comfort for your families, the most personal freedom, and the most you can get out of a very short life

    Jeff, I have lived and worked in the US and in various European countries, and really lived in them. Native speaker of three languages. You are deluding yourself if you think this is universally true of the US. It depends who you are in the US, whether this is true.

    I am sure it is true for you. There are very many people indeed who it is not true for. You need to look around you. Your recent trip to a convention center in a bad part of a bad city. Is it true of the people there?

    I am an admirer of the US. But also a realist.

  130. Jeff Id said

    #129,Those people have all the opportunity, propping up a sick culture based on laziness and corruption is not my job but I’m sure most of them went home to their bigscreens just the same.

  131. Mark T said

    curious said
    April 8, 2010 at 8:09 am

    True, but the biggest factor is how the mass is distributed and arranged – shape and structural considerations are by far the biggest factors.

    True, to a point, but these principles don’t only apply to large cars. Small cars get the same sort of benefit. The differentiator: mass. Bigger cars obviously weight more and can thus absorb more. When a big car and a small car both hit a wall, which keeps going and which plows through? Simple physics, it’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the fact that you stopped so fast.

    And puleeze, don’t try the “but what about headons” strawman. Those are only a small percentage of actual crashes and neither large nor small will benefit unless it is large against small.

    You can’t beat the fact that you are less likely to be injured in a large car than a small car. There are certainly a lot of reasons for this, but mass is very high on the list. If it is true that you are more likely to be in an accident in an SUV due to overconfidence, then you have to wonder why there are fewer injuries per mile driven, yet more accidents… mass.

    The only people that argue these simple points a) don’t understand them and b) have some sort of ideological bias against large cars, or c) both. Based on many of the replies, it seems to me the answer in this thread is c.

    Mark

  132. curious said

    Mark – no need to try and armwave this into an ideological discussion or claim lack of understanding by opponents – we all know how unproductive that approach can be. Lets stick to facts and physical considerations.

    Simply physics dictates the form of mass is more influential than it’s presence. Check this by bending a ruler flatwise versus edgewise – same mass, different orientation wrt load and a totally different result. If you have any accident stats which correctly analysed show size and mass are independent and primary factors in vehicle safety I’d like to see them. I maintain good design, driving environment and dynamics provide safety not mass.

    btw1 – An example of a small, light car head on into a wall:

    btw2 – As far as other examples of small light vehicles in high speed crashes look at formula racing cars and the intensity of crashes they withstand. One of the biggest differences to driver safety in F1 has been the introduction of crash worthiness testing and driver protection – all achieved at minimum weight.

  133. Hmmm said

    No Kon,
    The test had nothing to do with normal driving profiles, that’s exactly what made the test & comparison invalid for applying broadly to real life.

    And no the Al Gore comment was clearly an analogy of taking slanted test results for the purpose of drawing preferred conclusions from them.

    By the way, I don’t like Prius’ either. They do get great gas mileage though; I have to give them credit for that.

  134. Jeff Id said

    #132, Take the small light car and drive it head on into an SUV, which vehicle would you prefer?

    I had this discussion way back in 1988 with a Mazda VP. Conservation of momentum and the law of the biggest have the expected effects on survivability.

    If you in a small car crash into me and a big car (I’m in the big one cause I believe this stuff). We crash head on, both going exactly 30 MPH the accident was your fault BTW, b/c I have the keyboard😀. After impact, your little car and the SUV ends up going backward from your perspective by 10mph, most of the energy having gone into crushing metal on the little car. My deltaV is 20MPH, your deltaV is 40MPH. From my perspective the net energy in my own personal body is proportional to 20^2 – 400 energy units, yet you experienced 40^2 – 1600 energy units.

    Big car 1, little crushable car – 0

  135. curious said

    134 – fair point🙂 but then I’d be holding on to the steering wheel looking ahead, not at the keyboard!, and in my light nimble car with ASC I’d simply change lanes taking advantage of the smaller shift in mv I’d need to make to move 3yds to the left… hopefully not mowing a pedestrian down in the process…

    Jeff – you might enjoy the appendix A of dissent to the report that BDAABAT links in #29 above. Many parallels to the “CO2 is the critical driver in climate” arguments IMO. Identifying the independent variables and their impact on safety is not straightforwards and it certainly isn’t a simple case of “mass is safe”.

    btw – http://www.safeandsmart.com/stories/62

    1 all?🙂

  136. Jeff Id said

    #135, Sweet, we should make all little cars shaped like ramps.

  137. Mike said

    #136: “Sweet, we should make all little cars shaped like ramps.”

    You mean like the old Triumph TR-7? An old friend of mine had one of those, and was in a head-on should-have-been-a-collision with a pickup truck, but when he slammed on the brakes the front end dropped low enough that the pickup drove up his bumper and hood and came to a stop with its front wheels halfway up the windshield posts.

  138. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: Mike (Apr 9 10:31),

    You don’t even need to have TR-7/8 door stop on wheels shaped cars to stack them up. I’ve seen two cars nearly stacked up from a rear end collision where both cars were on the brakes so the bumper mismatch was maximal.

  139. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: curious (Apr 9 07:09),

    One of the biggest differences to driver safety in F1 has been the introduction of crash worthiness testing and driver protection – all achieved at minimum weight.

    The most common type of crash in racing resulting in injury is into a barrier. The mass of the car is not a factor in that case. If anything, the lighter the better, as there is less energy to dissipate for a lighter vehicle. The greatest recent improvement in safety in racing was the tire wall or other dissipative barriers like the SAFER wall for oval tracks. Gravel traps are a mixed blessing. Formula cars with low ride height and flat bottoms tend to skip right over them. They’re pretty effective for showroom stock cars.

  140. curious said

    139 – You might be interested in this one: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1478841/pdf/brjsmed00027-0011.pdf

  141. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: curious (Apr 9 14:09),

    I don’t work motorcycle races, too much blood. In 45 years of working corners (otherwise known in the US as flag and comm) at professional and club sports car road racing events, I’ve only personally seen one fatal accident. I’m convinced that driver had a heart attack or something before he crashed as the circumstances of the accident were unusual. Seat belts work. So do helmets, especially with head and neck restraints. I don’t see air bags at the race track, though. I’m pretty sure that they are disabled in the ‘showroom stock’ cars that have them as original equipment. Imagine the fun if you misjudged your braking and bumped someone a little too hard entering a corner and had the air bag go off.

  142. curious said

    Hey DeWitt – some of the commentators on Bahrain might have welcomed the air bags!

  143. Mark T said

    curious said
    April 9, 2010 at 7:09 am
    Mark – no need to try and armwave this into an ideological discussion or claim lack of understanding by opponents – we all know how unproductive that approach can be. Lets stick to facts and physical considerations.

    Simply physics dictates the form of mass is more influential than it’s presence.

    I realize this, and as I already stated once, both large and small cars can benefit from the same. The difference is mass.

    If you have any accident stats which correctly analysed show size and mass are independent and primary factors in vehicle safety I’d like to see them. I maintain good design, driving environment and dynamics provide safety not mass.

    No, transportation stats simply point out that people in larger cars are less prone to injury. Like I said, larger and small cars benefit from structural modifications the same, the difference is mass.

    Not just absorption of energy, mind you – a larger car will not stop as quickly. The old joke of course: it’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the fact that you stopped so suddenly.

    Mark

  144. Mark T said

    Actually Thoughtful said
    April 8, 2010 at 4:06 am

    Mark I’ve avoided your posts so far on this blog as my Spidy sense told me you were a bully.

    No, you avoid my posts because I pointed out the logical errors you made the first time you started posting, and then you claimed I was “attacking you.” I am a bully because you whined incessantly and repeatedly insulted people that you disagreed with ideologically, all while complaining about others insulting you. I bully hypocrites because they deserve it.

    I will not trouble you with another response.

    Yet you responded several times on the other thread. Hehe, you can’t even be honest to yourself.

    but you are certainly not smart enough to understand another person’s arguments and point of view before you “refute” them by calling them names and trying to minimize their point of view with what I am sure appears to you to be clever prose.

    I’ve never refuted your arguments by name calling. I insult you simply because you deserve it. Nearly every one of your responses is not only wrong, but contains some sort of slight against someone else. You demonstrate a lack of understanding of every topic you debate, then ignore every argument that is made while insulting the intelligence of those who are typically more right than you. It is clear you are not educated in any of these topics, yet you choose to debate them as if you are.

    If you wanted to persuade people you would present facts and ask questions.

    I did, actually, and you ignored what I said. I asked you directly to reply to those things that were unanswered and you never did. You chickened out, and yet continue your diatribe. I will continue to treat you like the moron I believe you to be until you address those concerns.

    Funny how you went point by point through my post, but at no time added any light to the discussion. Heat – yes, but no information that might persuade or educate all us unwashed masses.

    What more is there to add?

    (I’m not ignoring you mass bit – your claim is that additional mass is basically free to accelerate and saves us all in the unfortunate event of a crash – you conveniently forget that that is what we are discussing, whether the only way to achieve the proscribed fuel mileage is to drop the supposedly “free” mass).

    Another strawman. I was simply replying to comments about mass: larger cars are safer, the physical concepts demonstrate why they should be, and the crash statistics are evidence that support the theory. Certainly it is not 100%, but I have not claimed that, either.

    And the fact that objects have mass does not prove that crumple zone require extreme mass, and can only be made more effective with additional mass.

    This is a strawman, btw. I did not say that. Crumple zones to add mass simply because of the additional structure that goes with them.

    I am sure you railed against that nut job who got car companies to provide seat belts and airbags (those darn super high mass life savers!) too.

    I couldn’t care less whether they save lives or not. It is a personal decision to take the risk. It is certainly not your right to tell me what risks I may or may not take for myself.

    Mark

  145. curious said

    “No, transportation stats simply point out that people in larger cars are less prone to injury.”

    Mark – I’m happy to let the chequered flag fall on this discussion but if you have a reference for those stats I’ll take a look. FWIW if you look at my response to Jeff up thread you’ll see I’m not disputing that there are some accidents when a heavy and a light vehicle are involved in a head on the guys in the heavy vehicle will experience lower rates of change in velocity. All other things being equal, this will tend to give them better injury outcomes than for those experiencing higher rates of change in velocity.

    But the argument “mass equals safety” is not completed by this one type of scenario. Your argument was that mass absorbs energy and I’ve given a couple of examples (pillow, tubular lattice) which demonstrate it is structural considerations which dominate for energy absorbtion and in the case of a thin wall tube removing mass actually enhances its performance. If you are now arguing Jeff’s point that bigger masses slow down less rapidly than small masses when subject to the same forces I’ve already conceded that but replied with a counter example where the form of a smaller mass actually meant the larger mass came off worse.

  146. Mark T said

    curious said
    April 11, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Mark – I’m happy to let the chequered flag fall on this discussion but if you have a reference for those stats I’ll take a look.

    Off-hand, no. There was a few paragraphs over at the “how stuff works” website that actually went into detail. The article noted that mass is not the only consideration, but it does play a part and it referenced the statistics. There may have been a link.

    FWIW if you look at my response to Jeff up thread you’ll see I’m not disputing that there are some accidents when a heavy and a light vehicle are involved in a head on the guys in the heavy vehicle will experience lower rates of change in velocity

    That’s the obvious one, and I doubt you’ll find anyone that disagrees with this. Even the tard used this example, sort of, and actually went in an around-about way of demonstrating my point, I think, more than his own. This is mostly going to be because the larger car simply won’t stop, and may in fact reverse the direction of the smaller car.

    Your argument was that mass absorbs energy and I’ve given a couple of examples (pillow, tubular lattice) which demonstrate it is structural considerations which dominate for energy absorbtion and in the case of a thin wall tube removing mass actually enhances its performance.

    Actually, the argument is mass increases safety, not mass equals safety, and larger masses will indeed absorb more energy. Absorbs is probably a bad way to explain it, actually.

    I don’t argue that structural considerations should (or do) dominate, but those apply to both large and small cars alike, which I have stated repeatedly. Since both are made similarly, you’d hope, what then is the differentiator? Mass.

    If you are now arguing Jeff’s point that bigger masses slow down less rapidly than small masses when subject to the same forces I’ve already conceded that but replied with a counter example where the form of a smaller mass actually meant the larger mass came off worse.

    That’s only part of it I think. Certainly there are going to be exceptions. A guy riding in a car made of lead won’t fare better due to his increased mass because of the obvious lack of strength in the structure.

    I’m not claiming a 100% rule, just that in general, larger cars are safer than smaller cars primarily due to mass, though not only due to mass. There’s also the bit about how much room is in the cab, “room to live,” I think is the name of the movie I had to watch in Driver’s Ed so many years ago, but increasing the cab size is not unlike the crumple zone argument, which ultimately adds mass as well.

    Mark

  147. Margaret said

    Hi Jeff

    Back at #50 you asked for a whole lot of info — and I confess that between two birthdays in the family (husband and son on the 8th and 9th respectively) and my being sick for part of the weekend means that I didn’t get a chance to focus on it until now. There is also the problem is that I am not technically minded — being an economist I assume a spanner … and I wouldn’t know what most of those things are.

    However, I did have the opportunity to do something that I thought might help. I had to take a group of sea-scouts to camp a decent distance away, so I filled up the tank at the local service station noting very carefully how the bowser was in the car and filling it just to when it clicked off, and set the thingity-bob that measures how far you go. Then when I returned I went straight back to the service station and using the same bowser set to the same position I refilled the car.

    The statistics are this.
    The Toyota Previa is a 2001 model. I went 245.8 kms — half the distance with 6 seascouts and their gear in the car with me (total no in the car 7 and a very full boot with pretty heavy packs) and half the distance with only me in the car and an empty boot.
    The trip was mainly on the open road — but because of traffic it was nearer 90 km/hr than 100. For New Zealand it was a very flat trip with just one major hill – called the Rimutaka hill. We started at sea level (being sea scouts their den is on the coast) and we ended at sea level (being sea scouts they camp near the coast) and the Rimutaka hill has a maximum elevation of 555m (which according to the online calculator is 1820 ft) — so hardly a mountain pass. However it is not a small bump either and I think that this kind of terrain is an indication that it is not just Americans who need reasonable power from their vehicles. A good picture of it is here http://www.wainuiomata.co.nz/images/NZPage/wairarapahill.jpg

    Anyway the petrol used was 23.99 litres according to the petrol bowser — so 10.24 km/lt which according to the online converter is 24.09 miles per US gallon.

    I have no doubt that a new model of the car would have a better rate than that. It doesn’t seem to me that the significant improvement proposed for the new cars sold in America is outside of the realms of the possible.

  148. jeff Id said

    #147, Feeling that the improvement from 25 to 35 isn’t impossible doesn’t help. That’s the problem, people are thinking with their feelings, voting with their feelings, not their minds.

    The engines are the same tech around the world and are pushed to their limits already. Sure they will be improved but the imagination that fuel is just being wasted is foolish. Just so you have something to consider, the corvette, a big evil 400HP road vehicle, which is nothing but a fun toy gets 27 mpg highway.

    There are limits to what can be pinched from gas, engineers already know this and study this endlessly, legislating a higher number is nothing but a secret tax. A feel good tax because it’s for something we all want, clean everything. But the tax, does nothing.

    Ryan makes the point that they are shifting the mileage standards to help meet the goal, but of course that is just raising the number, not saving pollution.

    There is just too much of this stupidity going on in the US. Currently in Illinois there is a 15% tax credit for energy star appliances. Besides making energy star (a lobbying company) fantastically wealthy, and paying off companies which make ‘green’ appliances (also lobbying companies), they stole like 12 million from working businesses (only working business pays tax)and gave it to their ‘preferred business’ friends.

    There are only so many things which can be done to improve efficiency, they are incrementally small and like I say over and over, elimination of CO2 is the only possible way to reach the IPCC requirement. This will do NOTHING for THAT!! It adds cost, car companies give more money to the government, spend less on research and you take longer to develop the required new technology.

    It’s not that complicated, unfortunately, people think a partial solution is reasonable and just can’t grasp that they are not solving anything but are rather making it worse and incrementally giving up their freedom at the same time.

  149. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: Margaret (Apr 13 04:03),

    To put what Jeff said into a one liner: Conservation does not solve the CO2 problem, it only delays it a little bit.

    Roger Pielke, Jr. has a lot of posts along those lines. He has two recent posts (here and here) on a recent column by the Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman. Krugman appears to have it backwards, pushing conservation and efficiency as a solution and technology as only a delaying action.

  150. Jeff Id said

    #149, It’s not just a delaying but I think that there is real potential that conservation in exchange for higher cost will make the problem substantially worse.

    It is absolutely never considered ‘honestlty’ by environmental groups for unexplained reasons. I mean we know the extreme left hates business and profit so that is the most likely explanation however thinking individuals have to give it consideration.

    The worsening of the problem outcome is especially likely when considering the massive carbon taxes (various methods) proposed.

  151. Jeff Id said

    What will we do if our businesses are taxed back to the levels of Russia and Europe? You have to remember that the whole world will feel the reduction in spending power by the US. Where will we make the new technology? Will China suddenly start adding to the sum of human knowledge and develop the true clean energy solution?

    I can’t be alone in thinking like this.

  152. curious said

    Jeff – a bit OT but what do you think of the moonshots? Do you see them as “load”? A very expensive tax payer funded investment program with no direct up front returns? Or a stimulus program which developed and delivered new technical capacity and knowledge? Or somewhere between the two?

  153. Jeff Id said

    #152, Of course they are a ‘load’ why wouldn’t they be? The question you need to ask is, are they worthwhile for expansion of knowledge.

    As far as ‘very expensive’ the current expenditures on AGW science are about 5X greater than NASA by my estimates with proposals to expand that dramatically.

  154. curious said

    That is what I was asking – do you think they were worthwhile/justified and how do you choose where you set the bar of justification? I’m not posing the question to justify (or not) expenditure on AGW science (whatever that is) – I’m trying to get a handle on if, where, when and how you see benefit to state intervention. I don’t have figures to hand but I think I’ve seen claims that over the long run the financial benefits of the moonshot programme outweighed the costs. Apologies this is a bit drive by as I’m on the way out.

  155. Margaret said

    Thanks – I feel you attacked the language rather than interacting with the content of my post though. You asked for a whole lot of things — and to the best of my technologically challenged brain it seemed like you wanted to know the cars actual performance — so now I have given it. And for an older car, one which is hardly the type of tin can you claim would have to be made, on a reasonable trip with a reasonable loading factor, it performed at 24 mpg.

    I know that the newer Previa’s do significantly enough better mileage that people who move up model comment on it — so it hardly likely to be in the decimal points region. If they are even nearer the 35 standard which at the beginning of this article you claim cannot be met in the next 10 years, I cannot follow your argument that this is an impossible goal specifically set for the purpose of raising taxes through penalties.

    BTW I never made the connection between mpg and emissions that seems to be implied in some of the comments on my post. I would have thought there were many reasons why the US government might want to encourage better fuel consumption, including (but not limited to) the national security issues surrounding oil imports.

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