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Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:21 AM

 

MPGs. What happened?

the link below shows vehicles from 1978-81 that had great mileage. Some Volkswagons had over 50.
The 2013 prius is rated at 50+- mpg... So was the 1980 Chevy Luv pickup truck.
If small diesel pickups could get over 50 over thirty years ago then what happened to that 'technology'?
[link:www.mpgomatic.com/2007/10/08/super-cheap-high-mpg-cars-1978-1981/|

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Arrow 35 replies Author Time Post
Reply MPGs. What happened? (Original post)
tjnite Feb 2013 OP
phantom power Feb 2013 #1
kentauros Feb 2013 #10
phantom power Feb 2013 #15
kentauros Feb 2013 #17
EOTE Feb 2013 #26
Bandit Feb 2013 #18
kysrsoze Feb 2013 #35
Recursion Feb 2013 #2
snappyturtle Feb 2013 #3
Recursion Feb 2013 #4
tjnite Feb 2013 #6
Recursion Feb 2013 #9
kentauros Feb 2013 #11
Egalitarian Thug Feb 2013 #24
OldDem2012 Feb 2013 #5
Brickbat Feb 2013 #7
bluedigger Feb 2013 #8
Robb Feb 2013 #12
sharp_stick Feb 2013 #16
workinclasszero Feb 2013 #21
Recursion Feb 2013 #27
madville Feb 2013 #13
Blue_Tires Feb 2013 #25
EOTE Feb 2013 #30
Blue_Tires Feb 2013 #32
trackfan Feb 2013 #14
Mnemosyne Feb 2013 #19
think Feb 2013 #20
aint_no_life_nowhere Feb 2013 #23
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #22
Kolesar Feb 2013 #28
Egalitarian Thug Feb 2013 #29
HangOnKids Feb 2013 #31
Egalitarian Thug Feb 2013 #33
kenny blankenship Feb 2013 #34

Response to tjnite (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:24 AM

1. we got addicted to increased size and also increased HP

My dad was telling me how the VW beetle he owned had 36HP. 36!! Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single car that has less than 100HP these days.

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Response to phantom power (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:40 AM

10. Hybrid cars often have small engines rated under 100hp.

Not all of them, but so far, what I've been able to find tops out at 98hp.

This is interesting (from Wikipedia on hybrid vehicles)
A group of students at Minneapolis, Minnesota's Hennepin Vocational Technical Center, converted a Volkswagen Beetle car to run as a petro-hydraulic hybrid using off-the shelf components. A car rated at 32mpg was returning 75mpg with the 60HP engine replaced by 16HP engine. The experimental car reached 70 mph.

Now, that's impressive!

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Response to kentauros (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:56 AM

15. sure, but the total power train output is substantially higher

What I'm saying is, improved engine tech has been applied mostly toward getting larger horsepower and drives larger cars.

By contrast, imagine a hybrid power train with a *total* output of, say, 50 HP, in a car of a size comparable to a 1960s beetle, or a 1980s corolla. What kind of mileage would that get?

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Response to phantom power (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:00 PM

17. Okay, I thought you meant engines only,

and not the whole power system

I have no idea about the mileage calculations. I'll leave that to those of y'all that know this stuff better

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Response to phantom power (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:25 PM

26. Those 1960s Beetles were around 1600lbs.

The mutually assured destruction brought on by massive SUVs ensured that even the tiniest cars available today are about 50% heavier than that. The bulk of them are around 100% heavier. To become safer, cars are a good deal heavier today. 36hp wouldn't even get one of those Scion IQs moving, unless perhaps it was a diesel and had significant torque.

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Response to phantom power (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:01 PM

18. It didn't even have a gas gage, although it did have a nifty little reserve tank.

The speedometer went to 100 kilometers per hour and it was impossible to get it to go that fast. Loved mine though...

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Response to phantom power (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 06:43 PM

35. Creature comforts, sound deadening and especially electronics had a huge impact

On weight gain. Since people don't want to give that all up, automakers finally have had to go for lighter materials.

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Response to tjnite (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:24 AM

2. Diesel? Higher particulates, more expensive engines

You end up releasing the same amount of crud into the air, from a smaller amount of liquid.

That said, the military only uses diesel (it's cheaper over the long term, as well as safer).

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Response to Recursion (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:29 AM

3. I've had three vehicles with diessel engines and I'm definitely not military...just sayin'. nt

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Response to snappyturtle (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:30 AM

4. I had an awesome diesel Mercedes. Had to push a button on the engine to make it stop running

Other than that, great car.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:33 AM

6. Diesels have cleaner emissions

 

This is a pretty good link.
[link:www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/new-clean-diesel-cars|

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Response to tjnite (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:37 AM

9. Lower *carbon* emissions. Higher particulates

Back when US carmakers dumped diesel to stay with gas, particulates were what we were worried about. And now we're 30 years behind the rest of the world on consumer diesel technology, which leads to a vicious cycle.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:43 AM

11. It is a trade-off between the benefits of gasoline vs. diesel.

The fine particulates are exceptionally bad for those of us with asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:17 PM

24. Particulates are relatively easy to deal with and Diesel engines are inherently more efficient.

 

My next project car is probably going to be a Mercedes diesel. The piston clatter is the biggest problem from my perspective (plus the fact that I don't know how to work on them).

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Response to tjnite (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:31 AM

5. Car manufacturers got caught greatly "overstating" their MPG claims back in the 1970s-1980s...

...based on tests they conducted under perfect lab conditions.

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Response to tjnite (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:33 AM

7. Backlash against diesel.

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Response to tjnite (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:35 AM

8. Getting better all the time.

U.S. Fuel Economy Is at All-Time High, Researchers Say
By JIM MOTAVALLI
University of Michigan researchers said Monday that new cars and light trucks sold in the United States in October had the highest average fuel economy ever recorded on American vehicles — 24.1 mpg combined.

Michael Sivak, one of the researchers, said in a telephone interview that new vehicle sales showed a four mile-per-gallon gain from October 2007 to October 2012, an improvement of about 20 percent.

Mr. Sivak and his colleague at Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, Brandon Schoettle, have tracked data from 1923 to show a largely stagnant fuel economy trend from that time until about 1973, when the Arab oil embargo caused gasoline shortages. That data was published last July in the journal Transport Policy. “Technology improvements were used to add power and acceleration for 50 years, and it’s only after that time that we see sharp increases in fuel economy,” Mr. Sivak said. The average on-road fuel economy of all vehicles in 1923 was 14 m.p.g., the report said, compared with 17.4 m.p.g. as recently as 2008.

Historical fuel economy figures were attained by dividing the amount of fuel used for road transportation by vehicle miles traveled. More recent mileage information comes from Environmental Protection Agency data as used on window stickers.
http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/06/u-s-fuel-economy-is-at-all-time-high-researchers-say/

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Response to tjnite (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:49 AM

12. Americans were not fond of the low horsepower engines.

The current Prius produces something like 120 hp. My 1980 diesel Audi produced about 60, and would regularly get 50 mpg (stick).

But lord help you if you were behind me going uphill. Low speed and a smokescreen; I was universally despised.

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Response to Robb (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:57 AM

16. You needed the smokescreen

so you couldn't see the line of cars with really pissed off people behind you.

My brother had the same thing with an old VW rabbit in the late 80's. We drove it from Calgary to Vancouver and there were more than a few times driving through the rockies when I thought I'd have to get out and push it.

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Response to Robb (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:17 PM

21. "Low speed and a smokescreen; I was universally despised."

I loled

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Response to Robb (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:26 PM

27. Duh duh duh-nah duh-nah duh-nah...

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Response to tjnite (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:52 AM

13. Vehicle weight, safety features, and ethanol

All have contributed to reduced fuel efficiency over the last two decades. It is coming back though with technology.

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Response to madville (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:22 PM

25. ^^^^^^^This

Add in oversized wheels, upgraded interiors and all the electronic/nav/entertainment bells and whistles everyone expects in their cars now, and the weight of everything has skyrocketed...

I saw the 7th generation Corvette will come in at over 3500 lbs (!!) I thought my Mustang has heavy, and that's 3600...

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #25)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:30 PM

30. The C7 should come in at around 3000 lbs.

That's lighter than the standard C6 and about the same as the lighter weight C6 Z06. GM needed to keep the weight down if they were going to get increased performance from the same output.

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Response to EOTE (Reply #30)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:37 PM

32. I'm in the office now, but in the March '13 C+D interview with the Corvette team

I'm pretty sure I saw the number 3400 or 3500 thrown out...Will double-check when I get home

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Response to tjnite (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:56 AM

14. Ronald Reagan. n/t

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Response to tjnite (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:14 PM

19. I had a 1981 Plymouth Horizon Miser TC3 in mid-80's, got 45 mpg hwy, 35 city. nt

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Response to tjnite (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:14 PM

20. Here's a Hummer of a reason PLUS a tax break!

Buy a Hummer, Get a $25,000 Tax Break

By MARCUS BARAM
June 28, 2007

Shed a tear for luxury SUV owners.

Because they're on the verge of losing a perk that comes with purchasing a Hummer or a Cadillac Escalade -- getting a $25,000 tax deduction.

It's one of the many loopholes buried within the fine print of the tax code: Business owners who purchase heavy luxury SUVs, those weighing over 6,000 pounds, get to take deductions up to $25,000. ...

Full article:
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=3326593&page=1


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Response to think (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:01 PM

23. 6,000 lbs? Wow

One of my cars that I drive on errands close to home is just like this tiny Renault micro car that weighs only 1200 lbs and gets about 40 mpg.

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Response to tjnite (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:19 PM

22. We covered the car show

I at times drive my mom's 1984 BMW 325I. So I had the gumption to tell the Lexus rep (equivalent luxury vehicle) that the mileage in that car is equal or better to these years model.

Her words.

"We hear that often."

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Response to tjnite (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:29 PM

28. EPA tests now report more realistic and lower fuel economy predictions

...on the stickers on the cars. That made a significant difference. I owned two of the cars on that list and did not get the highway fuel economy that is reported in that article.

Those are 1800 pound cars on that list with little engines that suited a 55 mph world.

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Response to tjnite (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:29 PM

29. Finishing up an antique Nissan Z (very slowly because money is tight) that gets better mileage

 

than the new ones and not only passes, but barely registers on the emissions test. It's faster than most cars off the line and really settles in on the highway at 92 MPH. It's just fun to drive.

Driving normally, it gets 24 in town and 30 on the highway. Of course it only puts out 150 hp and weighs a bit over 3,000 lbs, but you'd think that after 27 years we could be doing much better than we are.

It's one of these (but non-turbo)

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #29)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:31 PM

31. I Had A Black 1984 Turbo That Kicked Ass!

I knew every cop in Orange County in those days.

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Response to HangOnKids (Reply #31)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:39 PM

33. It was an exceptionally well designed and well built car.

 

I didn't like the turbos so much because I don't think the trade-off of complexity vs. power was good enough, plus living in hell, heat is a problem already, but it's just a kick to drive, especially on road trips.

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Response to tjnite (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:39 PM

34. Higher safety requirements Higher emissions standards

and also changes to the way the MPG tests are conducted. The first change added weight even to small fuel miser type vehicles, the second changed the priorities of engine development, and the third caused vehicles that were basically unchanged from the year before the rule change went into effect to lose 2 or 3 MPGs when tested the next year. Also, it's virtually impossible to buy gasoline anymore without at least ten percent ethanol in it (Call it the Archer-Daniels-Midland Individual Mandate to purchase corn products - probably where Aetna and Wellpoint got the "Mandate" idea). Ethanol reduces the energy potential of gasoline, hence reduces mileage driven per gallon of fuel burned. But at least we ensure that our agricultural industry stays strong this way! They're Our System®

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