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Sun Aug 19, 2012, 07:38 PM

US rule set to slash cars’ fuel use

Source: Financial Times

New fuel economy standards for cars to be announced by the US administration are expected to cut consumption of petrol and diesel by up to 18 per cent over the coming decades, according to an official study, but are courting controversy.

Some carmakers warn that the new rules, which are due to be published before the end of this month, will distort the US market and may not deliver the projected reductions in overall demand.

At a time when oil prices have been rising, and fuel costs are putting increasing strain on US household budgets, President Barack Obama will use the new standards to show that he is addressing public concerns.

The administration also argues that the regulations will help the environment by reducing carbon dioxide and other emissions, and will strengthen national security by curbing America’s reliance on imported oil.

Read more: http://liveweb.archive.org/http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/72d12690-e8bb-11e1-8ffc-00144feab49a.html#axzz2412XwhHF

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Reply US rule set to slash cars’ fuel use (Original post)
alp227 Aug 2012 OP
ensemble Aug 2012 #1
wordpix Aug 2012 #2
happyslug Aug 2012 #8
tedbear Aug 2012 #3
limpyhobbler Aug 2012 #4
bhikkhu Aug 2012 #5
primavera Aug 2012 #6
The Green Manalishi Aug 2012 #7
oldsarge54 Aug 2012 #9
happyslug Aug 2012 #10
oldsarge54 Aug 2012 #11

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sun Aug 19, 2012, 07:49 PM

1. we have seen this movie before

I seem to remember US automakers complaining about increased MPG standards in the 70's, in retrospect they said it helped save the US industry when foreign competition showed up.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sun Aug 19, 2012, 07:51 PM

2. WTH is VW dragging its feet? I say GOBAMA, good move! And stop letting SUVs get away with modest

efficiency increases. SUVs should aim at high mpg, too.

SUVs are trucks and as such, should not be allowed on parkways like the Garden State. Go ahead, flame away. I also find the most aggressive drivers, if not driving fast sports cars, are driving SUVs.

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Response to wordpix (Reply #2)

Mon Aug 20, 2012, 10:37 PM

8. Volkswagen's rejects what Obama prefers, Hybrids and stop and go engines.


Volkswagen has the record for the most fuel efficient car ever put into production, beating out even the Toyota Prius, but the Volkswagen Lupo was NEVER imported into the US, even with its 78 mpg mileage.
More on Volkswagen's 1998-2005 Lupo:

Volkswagen has worked on high mileage cars, including stop and go engines since 1998 (Stop and go engines was one of the features of the 1998-2005 Lupo):
Volkswagen's 235 mpg car:

Volkswagen's proposed 2013 260 mpg car:

The Lupo was replaced by the Fox which in 2012 was replaced by the UP!,

On Volkswagen's 1998-2005 Lupo:

Presently Volkswagen is producing a 50 mpg car the UP!:

Volkswagen replaced the LUPO with the Fox and then the UP! for the simple reason the LUPO was expensive to produce and being a European "City Car" (American sub-compact) was in the Car market with greatest price sensitively (i.e. people will opt for another make if the other make is just a few dollars cheaper). Volkswagen to get the 78 mpg rating had to revert to a very small engine (and 1,0 liter) tied in with a "Automated Manual Transmission" (Automatic Transmissions are NOT popular in Europe, "Automated Manual Transmission" are a little bit more popular do to they better fuel efficiency, but the preferred European Transmission is still manual). A third factor (the other two being its high price AND its transmission) was that when it was introduced, 1998, oil was at its lowest price EVER (Matching if NOT lower then the 25 cents per gallon of the 1950s and 1960s, adjusted for the inflation of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s).

These three factors, did in the LUPO. It sold well, but was NOT the "hot" car Volkswagen hope it would be when Volkswagen put it into production. Thus its replacement by the Cheaper to produced FOX in 2005 and the FOX replacement by the 50 mpg UPI in 2012.

Volkswagen's preferred solution is NOT hybrids or stop and go engines, but the use of lighter weight materials and reduced performance (But keeping maximum speed to around 100 mph). Light weight material permit an overall lighter car, which means you can get very good performance with smaller (And lighter) engines and transmissions (i.e. 1.0 and smaller engines). Acceleration goes down with the smaller engine, but maximum speed can be maintained with the improved engines, transmissions AND the use of light weight parts in place of steel.

What Obama has supported was the increase use of Hybrids, which increase fuel economy, but at the cost of doubling the price of the car. Volkswagen's plans may increase the cost of a Car by 10-20% and get roughly the same fuel economy savings. Volkswagen is thus facing competition against its plans SUBSIDIZED by the Federal Government. Thus Volkswagen opposes these plans.

Now as to the Japanese and American producers, in my opinion, none of them think the 52 mpg is achievable at a price American consumers can afford (Thus they agree with Volkswagen on that issue). On the other hand, they know increase fuel efficiency is coming, and by accepting it now they can lobby congress later to reduce it when it becomes clear it is NOT achievable EXCEPT by the methods supported by Volkswagen. Volkswagen does NOT think the auto makers will have that ability in 10-20 years, and thus oppose what the Japanese and American car makers support (Volkswagen until recently was Government owned and the German State of Lower Saxony still owns 20% of the stock of Volkswagen, and another 5% held by various trust, 50% is owned by Porsche, thus in many ways Volkswagen is a Company that has to be more upfront and honest, do to this Government Ownership then privately owned Car makers, and Volkswagen has had a long history of such openness, this supporting something, it actually opposes is NOT something it is capable of, unlike the Japanese and American Auto Companies).

More on Porsche:

More on Volkswagen AG and its relations with Porsche and the German State of Lower Saxony:

In May 2012 I purchased a Chevrolet Cruze Eco. It comes with a electronic panel where I can view the MPG as I drive. Since I live in the Mountains of Pennsylvania I did not think I would get the 42 mpg EPA mileage, but I have done 40 mpg since I purchased the car (The Gauge has a settings that can give you the mpg, for the last 25 miles, the last 50 miles, the last 500 miles, since the last fill up and overall, i.e. since the car was built). Since It was built I have obtained 40.3 mpg, but that is being careful how i drive (i.e. no 80 miles per hour, except going down hill).

Now since I purchased the car, I have been able to play with the Gauges and see how they work and what they are measuring. For example, after I fill the car up and zero the mpg gauge for mpg since last fill up, the mpg gauge goes "wild", up to 99 mpg if I can going down hill, or Zero to One mpg if I am going up hill (Low mileage does strange things to mpg which need a sizable pool of numbers to be accurate). Now after about 10-20 miles, the mpg since last fill up start to look like the other mpg figures (i.e. the mpg last 25, 50, 500 and since purchased) but it is interesting what these gauges show at less then 1 mile since the fill up.

What is most interesting is how SLOW the MPG goes down, while the car is idling at a red-light. with less the a miles on the car since the last fill up. When you stop for a Red Light, with less then one mile on the mileage, the mileage starts to slowly creep downward. Now, when you have gone 10 or miles miles, such slow decline in mpg disappears, it no longer goes down while you wait for the light to change. This is the result of low miles on the gauge and statistical quark.

Side note: Statistics can lie, if you are NOT careful, classic example, one person earns 10 million dollars a year, nine people are starving to death due to lack of money, what is the average income for the group? A million dollar a piece. This leads to the following fallacy."It is NOT the lack of money that the nine people are starving, but they refusal to spend their "Million Dollar". The reason these nine people are NOT spending their million? It is NOT they refusal to spend their "Million", but in reality they do NOT have that "million", the 10th person has ALL TEN MILLION dollars). It quark of statistics that these staving people are even connected to the concept of having any money.

I mention how slow the MPG goes down in such situations, but not when the miles driven is over 10 miles and thus you do NOT see it on the 25, 50, 500 mile or since purchased mpg gauges. I point this out for while you will save SOME mpg with a stop and go engine (The engine stops when the car stops, starts when you hit the gas pedal) but the savings is NOT that much (and can hurt, if the Vehicle has power steering or power brakes). The savings of turning off the engine at a Red Light is not that great, especially in small engines (below 1.5 liters or about 90 cubic inches)

Volkswagen did use a "Stop and go" engine on its Lupo. Volkswagen to avoid the problems with powered steering and powered brakes used non-powered steering and non-powered brakes to avoid the down side i.e. loss of steering and brakes (It also used a "Automated Manual transmission to minimize loss of power). The problem was even with that savings in use of engine power, the savings with a "Stop and GO" engine was NOT that great, and thus Volkswagen dropped the concept. It is still popular with various improved mpg advocates, but once you look into how much fuel you are saving, I suspect it is just NOT worth it (and that Volkswagen found this out with the Lupo). It is a bigger factor with larger engines, but the better choice may be smaller engines with more gears instead of a large stop and go engine.

Now, Hybrids also use "Stop and Go" engines, but in such cars the engine does not stop when the car is stopped, it stops only when the battery is fully charged and re-start when extra electrical power is needed (or the battery needs to be re-charged). In such systems, the stopping the gasoline or diesel engine is NOT needed makes sense.

The downside of Hybrids is that it has to have an gasoline or diesel engine in addition to a 600 pound battery (Lithium, Battery can save a good bit of this weight, but still is a lot of weight to carry around). Weight reduced fuel economy. On the other hand NOT having the Gasoline or Diesel engine on all the time saves fuel. Most times the engine in a Automobile is built to "worse case" scenarios NOT what happens 90% of the time. i.e. built for rapid acceleration NOT for cruising at speed. This is where Hybrids come into play, they take a slightly smaller then normal engine, use it to charge the batteries of the Hybrid, thus when maximum acceleration is needed, you can have BOTH the gasoline/diesel engine engaged AND the batteries engaged to provide the additional power wanted at that time. At the same time, when the car is cruising at speed the gasoline/diesel engine can shut down and the car propelled by its batteries (And if the batteries need to be charged, the gasoline/diesel engine full power production is used to provide the electrical power needed to propel the automobile AND to charge the batteries).

Notice, the requirement of the Hybrids of having TWO engines, one electrical and one gasoline or diesel (Straight electrical automobiles do not have this problem, but that is another subject). One of the best way to see how this is less of a solution then many thinks is to compare Chevrolet's Volt with the Chevrolet Cruize.

Both the Cruize and Volt were introduced at the same time by GM. GM, unlike Toyota, could NOT rely on a Government Subsidy to produce a hybrid (The Japanese Government supported hybrid research more to reduce pollution from trucks in Tokyo, then anything else, but that funding quickly was diverted to a hybrid car for export instead of hybrid engines for trucks). GM to produce a hybrid without Government support, needed to spread the cost of developing the hybrid over more cars then just the Hybrid. Thus the costs of the Volt was spread over to the Cruize. Both the Cruize and the Volts use a lot of the same technology, both use the same power steering (electrical NOT hydraulic, hydraulic power steering has been the norm for power steering since it was introduced), the same frame and body (And I suspect the same braking system, but I have NOT been able to confirm this). The Interior truck of the Criuze is larger, for in the Volt that is where the batteries go. Both the Cruize Eco and Volt uses the same engine, a 1.5 liter engine (the Cruize gets a turbo charger, the Volt does NOT).

Side note: Turbochargers have been around for decades, they are the single most cost efficient way to increase power of a gasoline or diesel engine (Super charges actually do the job better, but at high costs in term of price for the Supercharger AND the power drain on the engine, for a turbo charger does NOT need power from the engine, a Supercharger does). Thus if you want to increase the power of a Gasoline or Diesel Engine, install a Turbo Charger, which is what GM did to the 1,5 liter engine in the Cruize.

The Cruize Eco, which gets the above 1.5 liter engine and tires of the Volt (Through the Volt's 1.5 liter engine is NOT turbo charged, while the Eco's 1.5 liter engine is turbo charged) gets an EPA mileage of 42 mpg, the Volts gets 37 (Gasoline only), 94 mpg (With electricity), 60 mpg (Combined). The Cruize Eco sells for about $21,000 (What I paid for mine), the Volt for $44,000. In effect you pay over TWICE as much to get roughly a 1/3 increase in overall fuel economy (Comparing the 42 mpg of the Cruize to the 60 mpg Combined for the Volt).

Cruize EPA Estimate:

Volts EPA Estimate:

In simple terms, the Cruize is profitable for GM, they is some question as to the Volt (But the Volt is bringing people into showrooms where the Cruize can catch they eye as something more in their price range, that is a repeat of the Observation of the Head of GM about the Prius, Toyota never made any profit off the Prius, but it brought people into the Toyota show rooms where other models that Toyota did make profits on were sold, i.e. a "loss leader".

GM has production problems for the Volt, mostly to do with how many they can make given the limits as to how many lithium batteries can be produced.

Side note: I did look at the Volt, but since I rent AND the house I rent has a very limited electrical system (Up to date for WWII, but not today) my ability to charge the Volt was limited. When I drive I tend to drive more the estimated 35 miles range of the Volt on an electrical charge and I end up climbing Allegheny Mountain, which by its grade will downgrade the 35 miles range. When I work and shop I tend to bike, except on long trips. Thus I was looking at 42 mpg at $21,000 vs 60 mpg at $44,000. Batteries also lose power in cold weather, and it does get cold in Cambria County Pennsylvania. Given these situations, I could NOT see the advantages of the Volt over the Cruize. Furthermore, in actual use, most cars do worse then EPA MPG estimates, but the estimates are best used to compare cars with other cars not as what you will actually get in mileage. For electrical cars and hybrids this is actually worse then for gasoline and diesel cars. Toyota has come out and said that the EPA estimates for its Prius is why to high, higher then is normal for its other cars. I suspect the same with the Volt a 10-20 % difference would be more realistic between the Cruize and the Volt, 40 mpg vs 50 mpg. Most of the fuel savings in the Volt, also appears in the Cruize Eco, the same body, streamlined for minimal wind resistance, the same engine (1.5 liter, except the Cruze's engine is turbocharged), same power steering and braking system.

GM sold less then 10,000 Volt in the US in 2011, but sold 231,732 Cruizes in the same time period. In 2012, Volts sales are expected to increase, but as of July 2012, only 18,663 has been sold (again compared to 10 times that number of Cruizes).

I bring up my Cruize in this subject of Volkswagen to point out what I think is Volkswagen's thinking when it comes to the proposals. Volkswagen favors smaller engines, lighter weight bodies, lighter transmissions over the concept of two power system in a vehicle. For the 78% of the population that live within 35 miles of their work, a better solution may be to opt for mass transit, leaving automobiles for those people who travel 35 or more miles each day. For people who live within 20 miles of their work. the real competitors to Electric Cars, are motorcycles, bicycles, LRVS, buses and just plan walking not gasoline or diesel powered cars. People tend to forget that counties east of the Rockies were designed to be no more then 20 miles wide, so anyone in the county could walk to and from the courthouse in a day. In high population density areas (Urban centers AND suburbs), LRVs and buses would be the better choice then an electric car. In rural areas the range restriction kills most of the advantages of the electric car over gasoline or diesel cars, and this is why Gasoline cars became dominate in the 1920s (Most people in urban areas in the 1920s and 1930s did NOT own cars, relying on Streetcars, buses and plan old fashion walking to get around, it was rural America, and upper middle class urban America, that embraced the cars in the 1920s and 1930s, Urban America did not do so till after WWII).

Thus Volkswagen may just be looking at what people will do when gasoline reaches $10 a gallon (Expected in about 10 years by some oil experts). Will they opt for a low price car with a small engine and low performance (but able to get up to highway speeds, but with some delay) or for a higher price electric (or hybrid) that gets roughly the same fuel economy? I suspect Volkswagen is looking at the small engine, low performance group as becoming dominate, for it provides them a vehicle they can afford to own and operate. The Hybrids and electric look more and more like a car people may NOT be able to buy AND operate (can do one or the other but not both). I suspect all three will replace the current large gasoline/diesel engine, thus I concur with Volkswagen that the concentration on Hybrid and electric is misplaced. The option of using lighter material to make vehicles even lighter and permitting lighter engines and transmissions feed back on itself with a greater return in terms of fuel efficiency then concentrating on Electric or Hybrids, which Obama apparently is doing.

Side note: Volkswagen is actually unique, it produces no large trucks and neither does Porsche (Which is also done by Honda, i.e. no large truck production). GM, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, Mercedes, and the rest not only produce passenger cars, but also trucks. Thus it was hard for Volkswagen (And Honda) to entered into the SUV craze. Without the need to worry about Truck production, Hybrids do NOT look that good (Hybrids actually look best when applied to large trucks, even the US Army has looked at some sort of hybrid for Tank use since WWII for in such a heavy vehicle, a tank or a truck, the large weight of battery is at best a minor additional problem, unlike small cars where it can be a large problem). Thus the push for the other makers to support Obama's proposal may be related to Truck production more then passenger Vehicle production and since Volkswagen produces few trucks, not a concern for them.

Now Volkswagen does produce some trucks, but no pickups or other light trucks. It is Cars or Medium and heavy duty trucks. Also Volkswagen exports no trucks to the US, concentrating on Europe, Brazil and the Middle East. Furthermore, Volkswagen trucks is a completely separate company from Volkswagen Car producer, both are owned by Volkswagen group, but are different entities. Thus Volkswagen's position may reflect it has no large SUV or Truck production aimed for the US Market.


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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sun Aug 19, 2012, 09:13 PM

3. tedbearly

This sounds great! In all aspects - you go President Obama!!!!

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Aug 20, 2012, 12:02 AM

4. we need electric cars and public transportation

This is fine but is not a substitute.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Aug 20, 2012, 12:46 AM

5. Excellent! And keep in mind none of that needs to be new technology

they just have to make available here the same efficient cars they sell in Europe and Asia.

I'd much rather have a little better fuel efficiency that back-up cameras, tire pressure warnings, electronic stability control, etc, etc...

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Aug 20, 2012, 07:59 AM

6. "... up to 18% over decades"?

How pathetically inadequate. At the rate we're causing the ice caps to melt and global sea level to rise, 18% of our land mass will be gone in those "coming decades." Yet you know that Repukes will be fighting tooth and nail against even this pitifully insufficient token gesture.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Aug 20, 2012, 09:06 AM

7. We really need to be able to get the same highly efficient cars that they can in Europe.

There are a few models available that get 60-70 mpg, we should be able to get them here.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Aug 21, 2012, 06:34 AM

9. We've wasted 40 years.

The 1974 oil embargo should have been a wake up call. Instead, we wasted time and oil by using Alaska. We should have then got the ball rolling on wind power, solar power, tidal power, and perhaps even a more efficient gas engine (that is possible, you know). Instead of real gas lines, we pay through the nose for gasoline during so-called shortages that left no pumps empty.

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Response to oldsarge54 (Reply #9)

Tue Aug 21, 2012, 03:45 PM

10. What about the 1956 and 1967 Oil Embargoes?


Yes, the 1973 was the last of THREE embargo imposed by the Arabs. The 1956 and 1967 embargoes hit Europe and Japan hard (And re-emphasized they desire to have an alternative, which meant high gasoline taxes to pay for mass transit).


More on the 1967 Oil Embargo:

We Americans did not really "hear" of these two embargoes for the US was still a net oil EXPORTER at the time. We "heard" of the 1973 oil embargo for by 1973 we were importing about 10% of the oil we used and thus gasoline shortages appeared in the US for the first time since WWII.

The US became a net oil importer in 1970, a year after Hubbert's famous 1953 prediction that the lower 48 US oil production would increase till 1969, then go into decline (Which it did).


Economists attack Hubbert's peak oil theory for it undermines a key element of the dogma of Modern Economics, there is no storage of anything that price can not fix. i.e. if demand is high, price will be high and people will find the item wanted due to its high price. High prices, caused by a shortage, any shortage, will resolve the shortage. Hubbert basically said, given the energy content of oil, there is no easy substitute for it and once it is gone, no matter what the price there will be nothing to replace it.

Form more information see Peak Oil forum:

US "Joint Forces Command" paper on oil 2012-2015:
On Page 28 it contains the following sentence: "By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD."

Now, much of the rest is right wing clap trap, starting with calling Smoot-Hawley tariffs what made a Recession into the Great Depression. In reality Smoot-Hawley did what is backers, wanted, it improved the economic situation in the US, at the cost of the rest of the world. Right Winger likes saying Smoot-Hawley caused the Depression for most of the top right wingers have more in common with the upper classes of Western Europe and the rest of the world then with the lower classes of the US. Thus Smoot-Hawley hurt them, for they were more interested in the rest of the world NOT the US. The authors of Smoot-Hawley, on the other hand were most concerned about the people who voted for them, US Citizens and thus backed Smoot-Hawley. I mention it for the report has a lot of other right wing view points, it is actually frightening for that reason, but the Military has since the 1970s turned even more right wing then the rest of the country as a whole. Yes, the Military accepted Gays recently, but more to get more recruits then any other reason.

The Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have little support in the US, thus since 2001 the Military has had to rely on more and more on rural white enlistees, for the previous largest group of volunteers, urban inner city African Americans have refused to join (Or more accurately has enlisted in number way below what they did in the 1970s-2000 period). Since the only other way to get people in the ranks would be the draft (And that would kill what ever tolerance exists for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) expanding who can enlist is the only option. Criminals have been left since 2001, so how bad can permitting gays in be? Given who are enlisting, and the drop off of immigrants enlisting to get Citizenship (Tied in with the high price of Corn, low price of Corn in Mexico lead to the large jump in immigrants in the 1990s and after 2000. with the recent increase in the price of corn due to Gasohol production, have lead to a drop in immigrants from Mexico and even a growing return to Mexico of illegal immigrants).

I point out the recent permission of gays to enlist as what it is, the Military looking for warm bodies, not as some left wing swing among the Officers. The paper clearly shows its right wing bias repeating several right wing talking points as to World Trade, globalization, Peak Oil, excessive government spending (but not on the Military, the rest of the Government) and even Climate Change (But in a positive light, i.e. new trade routes through the Arctic, nothing on flooding of cities or even the Godzilla of Global Warming the West Antarctic Ice Sheet). I add the paper to this thread for it does contain some good points, including addressing the issue of Peak Oil. I do notice it does NOT mention the 1956 or 1967 let alone the 1973 oil embargo.


More on the recent drop in immigrants from Mexico:

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Response to happyslug (Reply #10)

Tue Aug 21, 2012, 08:06 PM

11. Didn't Hurt the US as much

The 1973/4 Oil Embargo was the first embargo to really hurt the US. I missed the beginning, as I was a loadmaster running from Wright-Patterson, Lajes, Israel and back multiple times. (I think twenty). The point I was attempting to make is that Carter had us started in the right direction, but the input of Alakan oil allowed us to go back to business as usual. The North Sea oil did the same for Europe. That is why I take rather personally the crud from the right about Solynadra and other green initiatives as politically motivated garbage.

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