One thought on “Stalling on Fuel Efficiency”

  1. People keep voting with their dollars to buy larger vehicles with more comfortable appointments. Larger vehicles will ~always~ require more fuel than smaller lightweight econoboxes.
    As long as their is a surplus of oil on world markets, keeping prices low all the way through the production and distribution process, the preference for larger vehicles will remain.
    Since the first fuel economy standards were put in place the efficiency of internal combustion engines has increased from the 10 to 12 mpg range to 30 mpg+. At the same time the undesirable tailpipe emissions have been controlled to the point where a gasoline powered vehicle puts out no more emissions than an engine running on natural gas [LPG], while achieving a thermal efficiency [the amount of work produced for unit input of fuel] much greater than the natural gas fueled engine for the same horsepower.
    We have reached the point that the cost/benefit ratios are at or beyond the crossover point, Barring the discovery of new technologies to either further suppress the undesirable elements or new developments to permit more horsepower to be produced for a given engine displacement further legislative demands for increases in efficiency are only going to drive the cost of a new vehicle higher. The net effect will be to keep older vehicles with lower fuel efficiency and higher emissions in service for longer periods of time.
    At the same time that legislators are demanding higher fuel efficiencies they have demanded increased safety standards that have increased the cost of production and weight [termed parasitic weight as it adds weight without improving the fuel efficiency] has been added that work to reduce the fuel efficiency of the vehicle. This parasitic weight is a higher percentage of the overall weight of the vehicle for “economy cars” than for larger vehicles and has a greater effect on the final fuel efficiency figures than for larger vehicles. Once again, the current state of the engineering arts and sciences come into play, something that few in government, either legislators or bureaucrats have a competent understanding of.
    Until we have people in decision making positions who have a competent understanding of the engineering limitations and capabilities involved in these decisions we will continue to see legislative and bureaucratic demands that current technology are incapable of meeting in even a semi-open market system.

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