Discussion in 'Current Events' started by wkmac, Feb 4, 2011.
Just not on our highways
63 mpg or 3.7l/100 km (for standardized conditions) are not that much out of the world. VW once presented a Golf TDI Hybrid with IIRC 61 mpg. It was not launched as it was considered to be too expensive to manufacture. Mercedes 200 CDI with all fuel economy devices (start-stop, brake-energy recovery and others) is at 57 mpg, BMW is presenting a new car with a slightly better performance. Audi A4 is in the same league. Unfortunately not made for the USA.
Whenever I had a diesel rental in Europe, there was absolutely no problem of accelerating and/or maintaining the high speeds of the autobahns. Only during starting the diesel engine, you MIGHT notice a minor difference, but otherwise you will not.
What needs to be taken into account is a different mentality of the American consumer and of course the legal situation in the USA regarding possible class action cases (this mentality as such does not exist in Europe).
Another key aspect is that diesel-powered cars in Europe are higher priced than gasoline-powered cars (about EUR 2000 plus for a compact car - Golf size). For competitive reasons, Japanese cars are also available with a diesel option. Even luxury cars like BMW and Mercedes-Benz are available with diesel engines. What is undeniable is that thermal eficiency of diesel engines are significantly higher than gasoline engines. Combined with progress in engine development, software and fuel-economizing devices, it is only a normal engineering progression that is made in old Europe (btw, VW has presented a 2-seater with 1 l/100 km consumption = 235 mpg as a demonstrator and presented it recently in the Arabian Gulf area. This car is road-worthy).
In the end, it is not only a game of who/which car consumes least fuel, but is a game of utilization of overall resources and emissions over the lifetime of a vehicle; and this aspect is something that I am not able to see in ANY of the car reviews published in the USA.
The good thing is that Robert Lutz of GM used a concept in car development which consisted of taking the best engineers PLUS the best journalists in the trade for car reviews to improve GM car development. He was on the right track.
What does all this mean for UPS?
Please have a look at all the smoke-belching package cars when they start up before going on the delivery run. Please have a look at their mpg and compare this to data (internally available from our European counterparts). We have to utilize our resources in a much smarter way than we do today.
I know Ford has had a diesel in Europe for a couple of years that gets 65 mpg. Its a shame that California emissions standards have kept fuel efficient cars out of this country. The cars in Europe are better than ours. My mother used to have a gray market BMW that was the finest car I have ever driven.
I'm still waiting for Mahindra ( India ) to sell their 30mpg ( diesel ) trucks here.
They ain't pretty to look at, but at 30mpg who cares.
for those who can't wait, some GA. boys have a solution : https://web.archive.org/web/20080809114752/http://shadetreeconversions.com/
Suggest to "google/bing/yahoo/etc." "Ford Europe diesel cars" and you will find quite a little bit of info such as
http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/alternative-fuel/diesel/4330313 (this is as of 2009).
Key challenges in the USA iare emission standards (California), class action law suits, mentality of consumers.
American car companies do have the know-how (via their European subsidiaries), but smaller cars with less than 150 hp and "relatively high proces" are simply not fancy enough to be promoted. In the US, it is still "the bigger, the better" (and it is also better for the bottom line of the car companies and oil companies).
UPS does have experience with fuel-efficient package cars (diesel or diesel-hybrid or more advanced cars such as compressed gas/hydrogen), and they are quite capable for autobahn-runs at speeds > 65 mph (104 km/h; have seen it myself, trailing a UPS car at > 110 km/h).
Is there a chart to show equivalences somewhere? I would think that a vehicle getting 65mpg would be putting out similar polutants to a vehicle only getting 22mpg but having to burn 3 times the amount of fuel. I've often wondered about that, but don't know where to find numbers.
I have one of the only diesel cars available in the United States-a 2006 VW Jetta TDI. I can easily get 45MPG on the freeway and the power and acceleration are the equal of a comparable gas-powered car. I run mine exclusively on locally produced biodiesel.
Unlike gasoline... which can only be refined from crude petroleum... biodiesel can be made from soybean oil, canola oil, hemp oil, algae, or waste cooking oil. Diesel fuel can also be refined from coal, as the Germans did during WW2.
If all cars in the USA were diesel, we could utilize our vast reserves of coal as well as growing fuel crops or algae on land otherwise unsuitable for agriculture, and be completely free from dependence on foreign oil.
What effect, if any, would going exclusively diesel have on our air quality?
The real reason we don't get high mileage cars is the lobbying moneys spent by the big oil companies.
Health Effects of Diesel Exhaust
This page last reviewed January 20, 2011
Diesel engines emit a complex mixture of air pollutants, composed of gaseous and solid material. The visible emissions in diesel exhaust are known as particulate matter or PM. In 1998, California identified diesel exhaust particulate matter (PM) as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death, and other health problems. Diesel engines also contribute to California's fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air quality problems. Those most vulnerable are children whose lungs are still developing and the elderly who may have other serious health problems. Based on year 2006-2008 emissions in California, diesel PM contributes each year to approximately 2,000 premature deaths, with an uncertainty range of 1,500 to 2,400. In addition, diesel soot causes visibility reduction and is a potent global warmer. ARB has sponsored diesel health-related research.
For more information, please contact Dr. Linda Smith at (916) 327-8225.
Brett a couple of years ago spoke about a VW diesel that get's 70 mph and the closest it's sold to America I think he said Mexico. I think the model was called the Letto? I'm hoping Brett will jump in here because he had a lot of good details on this issue.
I got courious based on several of your comments and I googled "why US doesn't have more diesel cars" and here is what popped up. Opinions vary obviously. I don't own a diesel so I say that for full disclosure but I find the diesel does offer many advantages that gasoline does not.
BTW: Do we dare discuss the taxation model as it pertains to roads as maybe the real gun in the room to why we don't have super mileage vehicles? The higher the mileage per gallon the less in tax revenues!
Taxation rules can easily be changed. An "efficiency tax" is not out of the realm of possibility.
Why not eliminate the tax at the pump completely and pay per mile driven?
Want more tax? Make it all toll roads.
Why not privately owned roads?
Oh dont worry WK,,, it is coming. You can bet on it. With GPS units it will be calculated. Although as an added bonus we will still get to keep our tax at the pump
I'll be among the lowest payers in the country if we pay by mile. I get a tank of gas & it lasts me about 6 weeks or more!! My trips are extremely short, but I go everyday.
I think so too Tourist. The current taxing model is not welcoming to high efficent/high mileage vehicles so another taxing model if you continue a central state role in central planning of transportation will be needed. The added benefit but also the restraining at present is if you move away from what amounts to a consumption tax dropped on top of price per gallon to a tax based on miles driven, then the product used to travel those miles becomes unimportant. Whether you use petro, hemp oil, alcohol, some form of bio mass or even electric, the taxation of miles driven instead of fuel consumed IMO really opens up the opportunity to break free of oil. Now the problem becomes where and how the data for miles driven is collected and that opens up a whole other can of worms. This ain't easy by any stretch so let's not kid ourselves.
The current model is geared to collect tax at the pump based on oil consumed so to move to other means would pit you against the gov't revenue stream moreso than the oil company and who do you think will win? There are several other factors obviously but if we continue the current model of transportation means in the hands of the state then I do think some model of making the miles driven opens up a whole lot of doors. At the same time such a model won't be pretty because under the old/current tax regime, living in one location and working in another was highly encouraged by central planners and a lot of that also had to do with the fact that fuel consumption expanded the tax rev. coffers as well. Now the switch burdens the very people who followed the central planner wishes who in effect rigged the game to begin with.
I tend to like hemp oil as hemp is literally a weed, can grow about anywhere and therefore be grown, processed and consumed locally not only as fuel but other products as well. No pipeline, no foreign excursions for resource control and we get to watch the Middle East collaspe in upon itself as the only product they have to offer becomes at least to us here, worthless. But this also threatens the corp. global cartels who dominate wealth because the very lifeblood of their monetary empire is the petro dollar and the oil commodity that backs it. A worthless oil will collaspe the dollar as we know it and collaspe global commerce as we know it now as well. And this is also a big part of the picture but one it's hoped you won't think about. Moving beyond oil is vastly more than just about what we put in our cars.
More than anything I want to move beyond oil and I still love the big massive throaty V-8's and massive horsepower. If Moreluck for example understood electric motors (I do because it's my job) on pure torque curve and energy efficency alone she'd not be so negative and in fact be positive. Also don't judge electric based on the current models doled out to the public because the automaker's heart is really not in it to begin with. Electric is a great way to go but if everyone goes electric which solves the taxing aspect as it relates to the central grid, what does the extra load do to the grid?
BTW Moreluck, battery technology is here and has been but back search what happens to it and a good place to start is the movie, "Who killed the electric car?" It's the iceberg tip and not the full answer. More, you are somewhat right in poo-pooing the current product offered as they are gimmicks just for show. The real technological leaps are yet to be allowed to make their way for public consumption. Yeap, you heard it here!
And that's where the "efficiency tax" really hits home.
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