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US Pumps $175M Into Advanced Auto Fuel Research

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the get-it-pump-get-it dept.

Earth 200

coondoggie writes "In the wake of new fuel efficiency standards, the Energy Department this week spotted 40 new research projects $175 million to develop everything from light-weight building materials to electronics and advanced fuel. Last month, the U.S. set new fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, saying they must hit 54.5 miles per gallon by Model Year 2025. The projects awarded contracts should address some of the issues involved in making cars and trucks more fuel efficient. At least that's the idea."

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reminds me of this guy and his water+naptha stuff (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 3 years ago | (#37080368)

Reminds me of this guy and his water+naptha stuff
http://inventors.about.com/od/wstartinventions/a/water_fuel.htm [about.com]
http://www.epa.gov/etv/pubs/600r980035.pdf [epa.gov]

Alternative Fuel Research is Government Welfare. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080758)

None of that is taxable. Tax only exists to complement inefficiencies. If everyone walked then there would be taxes for that too.

Government is a club looking to self-preserve itself in an age where self-governing is done through reason of self-concious faith and science. Government only recently started using science to tax proportionately, since irrational taxing failed like how Romans taxed axles and Englanders taxed moustaches and similarly everything that originated from Africa where jealousy spreads rape and AIDS.

Parasites and useless eaters is Government.

175 million..... more a dribble than a pump... (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 3 years ago | (#37080962)

It's around 0.0001 times what they gave to the banks for free.
How much do the oil companies get?
How much do the agribusinesses get to make ethanol?

It's laughable.

Re:175 million..... more a dribble than a pump... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37081244)

I would guess it comes to roughly the sum of the golden handshakes given out to the ex-CEO's of said banks who destroyed not only their companies but the world's economy.

This is where our bizarre version of capitalism falls down, creating clean efficient energy is considered of the same value to society as creating a global financial meltdown.

I suggest we find a way to utilize hot air (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080380)

Because politicians produce more than enough of it.

Also journalists. Because they're full of crap. Oh wait, it can be burned for fuel. Hmm.

Still using gasoline? (3, Insightful)

Mark4ST (249650) | about 3 years ago | (#37080384)

I'm a little disappointed that they thing we'd even be using gasoline in that far-flung future. Aren't there a bunch of competing technologies just around the corner, if not ON that corner?

Re:Still using gasoline? (2)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 3 years ago | (#37080396)

I'm fairly confident that they're all 3-5 years away from the market.

Re:Still using gasoline? (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 3 years ago | (#37080444)

which is marketing speak for NEVER. Mostly because of patent hell. Seriously being an inventor now days sucks patents are hell.

Re:Still using gasoline? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 3 years ago | (#37080482)

I agree patents are an awful problem, but are you sure about your "mostly" claim? I.e., how do you know that most promised technologies simply don't pan out well enough to be commericially viable?

Re:Still using gasoline? (3, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#37080634)

You mean like the ones which prevent us from using NiMH batteries in cars [wikimedia.org] ?

You're not allowed to 'big' large NiMH batteries, for some definition of the word 'big' defined by the oil companies.

Re:Still using gasoline? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 3 years ago | (#37080658)

But I wasn't asking if there's a single case where patents are stopping advances in this area. I was asking the GP if he really meant it when he implied that the majority of advances never hits the market because of patent concerns. And if so, why reason he had for believing that.

I think that especially with debates about patents, questions regarding how extensive are the downsides or benefits of patents become quite important.

Re:Still using gasoline? (2)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | about 3 years ago | (#37080636)

I miss the good old days when you could invent something by waiting for someone else to do all the hard work and then taking it for your own. Inventing is supposed to be easy!

Re:Still using gasoline? (1)

umghhh (965931) | about 3 years ago | (#37080772)

It is not easy for your but it is easy for patent trolls - with enough cash and lawyers you can win any case or rearrange it in such way that in jurisdiction of choice your victim will not be able to defend. In case you misjudge your victim and the whole scheme backfires you can still buy the bloody thing and sue all others for infringement. It is not even patent trolls that do that - Apple is doing this these days too. Seems to be the a business model of today.

Re:Still using gasoline? (0)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | about 3 years ago | (#37080608)

Oblig: XKCD [xkcd.com]

Re:Still using gasoline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080578)

I'm fairly confident that gasoline is a resource, not a technology.

Re:Still using gasoline? (1)

zzzy (913235) | about 3 years ago | (#37080662)

I'm a little disappointed that they thing we'd even be using gasoline in that far-flung future. Aren't there a bunch of competing technologies just around the corner, if not ON that corner?

The short answer is: No. The long answer, nature has stored solar energy over millions of years in this nice carrier called hydrocarbons. I call them nice because they are very energy dense, lack chemical reactivity almost completely (well, aside from combustion that is), and tend to stick together and away from water and thus come concentrated enough to use after only minor processing. Our civilization was built on the premise that this energy dense carrier is available. The nicest thing yet about them, all we have to do to get hydrocarbons is drill holes in the ground and pump them out! Yes, they are not sustainable, yes, they are slowly changing the atmosphere's composition, in other words, are completely unsustainable. But our daily activity as we know it is paced in perfect accord with the readily available hydrocarbon fuels. If what we want is sustainability, we have to give up the crazy pace of this entire civilization. There isn't any possible thermodynamic cycle on the planet that could generate *useful* energy from what the Sun gives us to move things around, cool and heat homes, etc, at a fast enough *rate* to keep us going at the current pace. The rate of available energy is what had kept humanity stuck in the dark ages for so long. If all you have is mules, tallow candles, olive oil, and forest wood, nothing will happen too fast. You can't make enough steel by just burning wood to build wind or hydro turbines. There is not enough wood to make concrete that would build us dams for hydro electric power. Just with wood as a fuel you can't melt and purify silicon to make computers. There is not enough biomass to turn into fuels for transportation at the current demand levels because of the limited efficiency of the chemical processes and thermodynamic cycles involved. We are simply burning energy too fast for what Mother Nature can give us sustainably. We *are* the children of fossil fuels, coal and hydrocarbons, they are what define the current civilization and has been so since the Industrial Revolution. Unless we are ready to give up most of what we have and are today, and return to ox plowing, no governments “visionary” program (like the “hydrogen economy” nonsense) can make us sustainable. We are like a flame consuming a canister of gas. Unless the flame is gone, the gas will keep burning, but we can’t keep burning like we are today without the fuel which sustains us.

Re:Still using gasoline? (0)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 3 years ago | (#37080762)

>>There isn't any possible thermodynamic cycle on the planet that could generate *useful* energy from what the Sun gives us to move things around, cool and heat homes, etc, at a fast enough *rate* to keep us going at the current pace

You missed that article yesterday on thorium-powered cars, eh?

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/11/08/12/172229/8-Grams-of-Thorium-Could-Replace-Gasoline-In-Cars [slashdot.org]

But don't let me interrupt you. Your mega-paragraph could make for a great start to a Unabomber-like manifesto some day.

Re:Still using gasoline? (1)

zzzy (913235) | about 3 years ago | (#37080890)

Ha! it does look like a manifesto doesnt it. The thorium piece lost me at the point where i started imagining the thick, heavy lead casing needed to contain the radiation. By the time you take that extra weight into account, 8 grams turn into 8 kilos. Plus, the 5 hr energy(R) folks would make a fortune selling fashionable potassium iodide pill dispensers.

Re:Still using gasoline? (2)

Rising Ape (1620461) | about 3 years ago | (#37080904)

Except that's obvious nonsense to anyone with the slighest background in physics.

Re:Still using gasoline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37081220)

Aren't there a bunch of competing technologies just around the corner, if not ON that corner?

Yeah, they've been "around the corner" for the last 50 years.

The "problem" is that gasoline and diesel fuel are just really convenient. High energy density, relatively safe (i.e., flammable, but not explosive under most circumstances), established distribution infrastructure and advanced engine technology.

Get government out of Research. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080398)

They're only looking for ways to more-efficiently tax all those around them, to assure their own existance.

Whose money is it anyways, government-issued debt sureties, certified Promisory Notes, or monetized Warehouse Receipts?

Everything government has been doing is all about their ego, and needs to stop.

Water Electrolysis Joe Cell and GEET Heat Exchangers have made petrol obsolete and have already flagged the people into an age of freely-aquired fuel more vast than the ocean and easier to govern than a flame.

Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (3, Insightful)

sandysnowbeard (1297619) | about 3 years ago | (#37080418)

The problem with alternative car fuels is that they're a solution to the wrong problem: the real issue is that it's not sustainable for every person on the planet to transport himself and two tons of metal an average distance of sixteen miles one-way as part of a daily commute.

make full time 32 hours a week (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 years ago | (#37080428)

and move to a 4 day work week. That will cut down on the need for transport and put more people to work as well.

Re:make full time 32 hours a week (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080480)

Bingo. If we all moved to a 32 hour work week, there might be enough work to go around for some of our unemployed friends.

Instead, everyone seems to be working 60 hour overtime shifts.

Re:make full time 32 hours a week (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080740)

60 hour overtime shifts means you're staffed at 75% of what you really require. Benefits aside, two people can work a 40 for the same cost. It'd be a lot cheaper to hire than have those OT shifts.

Re:make full time 32 hours a week (1)

originalTMAN (694813) | about 3 years ago | (#37080964)

which is why many professional occupations don't pay overtime anymore.

what about 4 days a week with 9-10 hours a day? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 years ago | (#37080744)

what about 4 days a week with 9-10 hours a day?

Re:make full time 32 hours a week (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080496)

That requires duplication of resources, why not let employees work one day a week from home where possible and issue laptops to them so they can achieve this. Not possible for every job but possible for more jobs than you think.

Re:make full time 32 hours a week (2)

thynk (653762) | about 3 years ago | (#37080784)

Why only one day a week? If we gave some sort of incentive for companies to let their people work from home more often, then they save on office space and we save on transportation costs.

I used to be 100% remote for a large company, then they spend millions renovating 2 floors of office space and required everyone within 50 miles to be on site every day. Those who were more than 50 miles were let go shortly after. Now workers spend hours driving to work, only to be less productive because it's too damn noisy. The only answer I've ever gotten for this is "because they said so". I'm not sure who came up with the idea, how it got approved but I'm willing to put money on Power Point being used in it. Some of the worst decisions in business history have been made to look good with that damn program.

Do the math, I live an hour away. That's 10 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. That's 520 hours a year. 13 work weeks each year spend driving to and from a job that has been proven successful when done from home office. 20,000 miles at a cost of over 9,000 (at $0.45 per mile) each year.

Oh, and they already issue laptops and require employees to have high speed broadband for on call duty.

Re:make full time 32 hours a week (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37081030)

This is why I don't shave. 6 minutes a day x 5 days a week = 30 minutes a week shaving, or 26 hours a year! That's a whole day wasted shaving.

Re:make full time 32 hours a week (1)

ncc74656 (45571) | about 3 years ago | (#37080512)

and move to a 4 day work week. That will cut down on the need for transport and put more people to work as well.

Replacing heavy machinery at construction sites with manual laborers wielding shovels would put more people to work, too. Having them dig with teaspoons instead of shovels would put even more people to work.

Never mind that it'd be horribly inefficient and much more expensive. You're looking in the wrong place for savings if you go down that road.

Re:make full time 32 hours a week (2)

Rising Ape (1620461) | about 3 years ago | (#37080566)

They aren't the same thing. Your example is inefficient because it uses more labour to achieve the same result - a shorter working week would get less done but require less work to do it, which isn't less efficient.

I dont' understand why we still have 40 hour weeks. Surely with all the technical improvements over the past few decades we can still be wealthy enough without as much work.

Re:make full time 32 hours a week (2)

RogL (608926) | about 3 years ago | (#37080600)

I dont' understand why we still have 40 hour weeks. Surely with all the technical improvements over the past few decades we can still be wealthy enough without as much work.

Nobody's stopping you!

You can go ahead and start working a 32-hour week; most likely, you'll make roughly 80% of a 40-hour week's pay. Might be hard to arrange, as most jobs include benefits, hard to break those down to 80% but some minor negotiation should get you there. Most people would rather get 5-days pay per week than 4-days. Many folks work overtime, more hours for more compensation. But not everyone; there are "part-time" jobs out there, and self-employed folks can set their own weekly max-hours.

Re:make full time 32 hours a week (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080822)

Don't know about the 32-hour week, but all the nurses at the hospitals here are on 12 hour shifts, 3 days a week.

Obviously that is a better arrangement for the hospitals, don't know about the workers.

Re:make full time 32 hours a week (1)

mpaque (655244) | about 3 years ago | (#37080622)

They aren't the same thing. Your example is inefficient because it uses more labour to achieve the same result - a shorter working week would get less done but require less work to do it, which isn't less efficient.

Nah. We'll get the efficiency back via unpaid overtime.

Re:make full time 32 hours a week (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#37080816)

we can still be wealthy enough...

Good luck selling that one...

Re:make full time 32 hours a week (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080972)

How exactly is four 10 hour days less efficient and more expensive than five 8 hour days?

Re:make full time 32 hours a week (2)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 3 years ago | (#37080778)

>>make full time 32 hours
>>and move to a 4 day work week. That will cut down on the need for transport and put more people to work as well.

Oddly enough, when they tried this in South America, it didn't work out very well..

We have plenty of energy on this planet - talk of running out of fuel hundreds of years from now seems a bit premature. We *should* have fusion up and running by the time all our hydrocarbons and fissilables have run out.

Re:make full time 32 hours a week (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37081004)

Awesome, and while we're at it let's pay everyone $200K per year and give 8 weeks of vacation. Shit, why even work when the state can clothe and feed you your entire life (life expectancy 40 years tops). All animals are created equal after all - well some are more equal than others.

Socialism is like living at the bottom of the barrel drinking piss-water and eating everyone's shit and claiming you like it and it's good for everyone. By law.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#37080460)

who says cars have to be made of metal? and there is plenty of abundant energy on this earth, no shortage.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080486)

Show me where I can get that abundant energy. It should be almost free since there is so much of it, right?

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#37080618)

we have thousands of square miles on this earth with bright sunshine and almost never clouds nor storms. we can turn cellulose into butanol, and grow sufficient crops on scrub land for our vehicles. we have thorium supply sufficient for four thousand years of breeding, and moreover use our existing "spent nuclear fuel" to extract over five times the energy as the first burn, leaving short-lived wastes. See, just engineering issues, no fundamental problems. Also, the population will peak at less than 20% more than there is now by early 2070s, so runaway population not even an issue.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (0)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 3 years ago | (#37080826)

>>we have thousands of square miles on this earth with bright sunshine and almost never clouds nor storms.

Yes.

>>we can turn cellulose into butanol, and grow sufficient crops on scrub land for our vehicles

No.

>>we have thorium supply sufficient for four thousand years of breeding

The reproductive cycle of my species does not depend on Thorium.

>>Also, the population will peak at less than 20% more than there is now by early 2070s, so runaway population not even an issue.

Yes.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080666)

You're dealing with a Space Nutter. Totally irrational, resistant to logic, reason, facts and education. Good luck.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080860)

You're dealing with a Space Nutter. Totally irrational, resistant to logic, reason, facts and education. Good luck.

There's enough solar energy and land mass available in the asteroid belt to keep us going for millions of years. Like a cancer, our descendants - even if more machine than man - will spread across the galaxy.

Or we could try it your way and develop an immortality serum instead. Our rulers, being the only ones wealthy enough to fund the research or afford the treatment, could then consume the Earth's limited resources even faster than they are today.

But you're still going to die of old age before either of those things happen, QA.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080488)

Yes, but try to tell that to people living in the suburbs, especially the ones further out (20+ miles) from the nearest city.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080700)

It's going to take some time; but eventually the market will fix the suburb problem. Can't walk to work. Can't raise chickens. What good are they?

When the suburbanite pays $100/day to get to work in the city, and buy eggs for $20/doz from the farmer it'll be too late. He'll be stuck underwater for years; but he's a fool not to see it coming.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (2, Insightful)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | about 3 years ago | (#37080544)

The problem with alternative car fuels is that they're a solution to the wrong problem: the real issue is that it's not sustainable for every person on the planet to transport himself and two tons of metal an average distance of sixteen miles one-way as part of a daily commute.

sorry, I disagree. In your world utopia, only the rich would have access to personal transportation. That's not the world I want to live in. Personal transportation waiting for you on your driveway is personal freedom. Focusing on efficiency and compact storage of carbon free electrical power will make that all sustainable and a lot of people happy.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | about 3 years ago | (#37080646)

Well, that's the world we live in just now I'm afraid. You are an American on Slashdot and that pretty much makes you rich (certainly in the top 5% globally). The vast majority of the world doesn't, and never will, have the kind of personal transportation you enjoy.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (1, Insightful)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | about 3 years ago | (#37080720)

Why not?

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | about 3 years ago | (#37081080)

Peak Oil mostly.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (1)

Howitzer86 (964585) | about 3 years ago | (#37081148)

In Cuba, young people often scrounge up whatever they can find to make motor bikes. These little bikes can get up to 90-100 mpg and travel at 40 mph. I built one from a kit - it's not safe, is prone to technical problems, but it works.

In India (which is not as poor as Cuba, but still poorer than the US), motorbikes and scooters are very common, and share the road with cars and bicycles.

Anywhere, a fit rider can travel up to 30 mph on a regular unpowered bicycle. Anywhere, a rider can order an electric or gasoline powered 'pedal assist' motor to attach to their bike.

Peak oil has nothing to do with the freedom of transportation. If we have to ride bikes we will (and do), others put little motors on their bikes, buy scooters, and if they can afford it even cars. My car was $1600, came out in 1991, and gets 30 mpg. I'm poor by US standards and $4 gas doesn't scare me one bit. Almost all of today's modern sedans get 30mph or above.

However, 'peak oil' has everything to do with the cost of goods, since they have to be transported by big rigs that get a gas mileage as low as 8 mpg. You can say... 'our food economy is unsustainable' and you might have an argument. Maybe we can't support the number of people that we do... but we'll have problems with that long before we stop driving ourselves.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 3 years ago | (#37081142)

Because they're not American, that's why. There's a reason Americans have the highest level of stress combined with the best standards of living. Because Americans as a group bust their ass off both physically and mentally. Of course, some are living a more posh lifestyle off the backs of others but that's part of the worldwide ugly nature of humanity.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37081194)

Thing is, you are absolutely correct. Too bad you will be modded down to oblivion.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080814)

"The vast majority of the world doesn't, and never will, have the kind of personal transportation you enjoy."

That sucks for them.

Last night I went for a 100-mile drive just for fun.

Don't you wish you could be me, bitch ?

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080958)

You're ignoring the possibility that the OP was suggesting that maybe personal transportation should weight less than two tons or the average commute be less than 16 miles. Neither of which requires any economic class having exclusive access to personal transportation.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37081102)

In your world utopia everyone is equal and has equal personal freedoms?? Is that ever likely to happen? As it stands oil and other essential commodities are rising in price, IMHO the golden years of the past few decades that many in the west have enjoyed are reaching a peak and lifestyles are more likely to go down than up. Theres billions of people wanting/trying to live your standard of life, the sad fact is they will drag your lifestyle down more than they can raise theirs.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 3 years ago | (#37080650)

Do you have any evidence to support that statement, or are you just guessing? I can easily imagine a world in which fusion reactors or high-efficiency solar power generate plenty of cheap electricity, some of which is then converted into high energy density fuels, allowing people to drive their cars wherever they want. What makes you so confident that that can never happen?

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (1)

lymond01 (314120) | about 3 years ago | (#37080910)

Exaclty right. When we started making centralized shopping with huge parking lots, we just exacerbated the driving problem. I'd rather go back to neighborhoods that have the usual goods (basic groceries, bread, beer, wine, pubs/restaurants) and let the delivery guy drive his single truck around to outfit them all, rather than make 1000 people drive to a single location. If I could arrive home from work, walk to the store, walk to the gym, walk to dinner...my life would be 100% better. In certain areas you can do that, but it should be possible in more than just dense cities.

Re:Alternate Fuels = Wrong Problem (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 3 years ago | (#37081068)

You know I'm not sure that's the real problem. See there were already some really kick ass cars made in the last 20 years that got really good mileage. The problem? They were too good, or they were neigh indestructible. A 4 day, but long work week would be a good option for one thing, personally I'm a bigger supporter of that. I already work it in my job.

Anyway, as for cars and all that? My old saturn sw2 gets around 43mpg on the highway, and that's not isolated. Most saturn owners that have the manual, and their cars were made between '94 and 2001 report the same, more so with the original SW series. Some even higher upwards of 52mpg as normal milage on the highway. The lightweight body panels help a lot.

Where do these numbers come from? (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | about 3 years ago | (#37080434)

Did they consider we might be nearing the end of the road for pure gas efficiency? Just wondering if *any* science ever factors into these decisions. As if engineers can engineer anything given time!!

A Prius may do over 50mpg but that is only because it does not run on gas for a decent portion of it.

Re:Where do these numbers come from? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 3 years ago | (#37080514)

All stock Priuses run entirely on gasoline. And will do so until the plug-in versions come out later this year. If they're getting 50mpg, it's because they recapture some of the losses and use the performance assist of the electric drive to get away with sizing the engine for average load instead of peak load.

Don't be like those people who put "I am electric" stickers on their, as far as i can tell, completely unmodified hybrids....

Re:Where do these numbers come from? (1)

zzzy (913235) | about 3 years ago | (#37080696)

Remember that even a plug-in still gets power from the fossil fuel powered grid. The plugin hybrid simply changes the location of the systems boundary, it's not like the overall efficiency is any better (in fact, it will be much worse).

Re:Where do these numbers come from? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 3 years ago | (#37080656)

The answer to your question is yes. Whenever they set these standards, the lobbyists from the auto industry work with them to make sure the standards are attainable.

Re:Where do these numbers come from? (2)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | about 3 years ago | (#37080716)

No, no one is thinking of any of these things. That's why we have these Slashdot peer reviews, so you unsung geniuses can poke obvious holes in the plans of professionals.

Re:Where do these numbers come from? (2)

psiden (1071350) | about 3 years ago | (#37080922)

The Prius and others are interesting experiments but it will only be a small percentage of cars sold for many years to come. We also have to look at what we can do with the rest of the fleet. 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 is an an extremely modest, if not pathetic, goal. My eight year old Citroën C5, considered a big car by European standards, is around 40 mpg. If I were to update to say a brand new Volvo V70 - also a big, comfortable and safe car - I'd do over 52 mpg (and less than 119 g/km CO2 emissions). Even a couple of years old V70 would do over 48 mpg! And we're still talking 'big' cars while the 54.4 miles per gallon by 2025 is for the average car fleet sold. Two or three years and modern cars will bloody BE at 54.4 mpg - and you will still wait for another ten years?! You might as well shut your motor industry down right now. No, the faster American motor industry gets up to modern standards the faster it gets more competitive! The Ford F-series, a dinosaur relic to be honest, is still the best selling car in the world - THAT IS F**NG AMAZING - but its more or less unsellable anywhere but in the U.S. for being so old-fashioned and having a mileage that wasn't ok even in the 70's. What will you do when if finally stops selling? The U.S. have a grand automotive heritage to defend and you are losing it. This goal is too little and too late. Where did the American confidence go? Why don't you set a goal to ASTONISH the world rather than one that makes you look pathetic. It makes me sad, I know you can do so much better than this. Fire your lawyers and get your engineers to work, you can do it if you want to!

Re:Where do these numbers come from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080954)

I'm currently getting 52mpg from my (entirely petrol powered) Honda Jazz.

Re:Where do these numbers come from? (3, Interesting)

psiden (1071350) | about 3 years ago | (#37081042)

Exactly my point. Isn't "54.5 miles per gallon by 2025" a rather pathetic goal?

Re:Where do these numbers come from? (1)

brokeninside (34168) | about 3 years ago | (#37081054)

VW's TDI engines in a compact (Jetta, Rabbit, etc.) can already come pretty close to hitting the proposed mark. Were they to add some of the non-hybrid technology used in hybrids (regenerative braking, etc.) they could problably put that rating up pretty quickly.

The downside to that approach is cost. As vehicles get more complex, they cost more to make.

But in large part, I don't see why the numbers are not attainable.

For those that prefer metric (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 3 years ago | (#37080436)

For those not in the US, Google says [google.com.au] * that the target in TFA is equivalent to ~4.3 litres/100km.

That figure is very close to the' 'official' stated fuel consumption of the Toyota Prius. So it's a pretty ambitious target considering we are talking about light trucks here.

* (Google's unit conversion feature continues to surprise me with what it can do - in this case turning a distance per volume and turning it into a volume per multiple of a different distance. Nifty.)

Re:For those that prefer metric (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#37080828)

Yep. Does anybody know why it's going to take until 2025 to achieve this?

2025 is so far away that they might as well not bother. Nobody's going to lift a finger until at least 2020 (and when they do it'll be to lobby the politicians for more time).

Re:For those that prefer metric (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | about 3 years ago | (#37080832)

I'm betting that trucks won't make that cut, so their prices will reflect a penalty/tax in them, and people (including myself) will pay the tax rather than have an under-powered truck. I only put about 5k miles on my truck (compared to 35k on my car) per year, but a 50MPG truck won't pull a trailer. Ever.

Re:For those that prefer metric (1)

psiden (1071350) | about 3 years ago | (#37081074)

There's always going to be a need for other vehicles outside the norm - or if not a need then for fun. But its a not exactly optimal when the trucks like the Ford F-series is the norm. Those kind of heavy duty cars need a huge tax upon buying, to keep their numbers down in the used market.

Re:For those that prefer metric (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#37081078)

Ever hear of things called superchargers?* They allow you to change the power output of your engine by pushing a button.

Do you think it's necessary to drive something that guzzles 100% of the time when it only needs to guzzle a couple of times a year?

(Superchargers...or similar technologies)

A few months ago I drove an 'Eco' car which had a supercharger in the gas pedal. When the pedal hit bottom you could give it an extra push; it went 'click' and suddenly you got a load more power for overtaking. Do you not think this sort of thing should be more common?

Low hanging fruit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080492)

Why is everyone neglecting aerodynamics?
http://www.aerocivic.com/ proved that just some simple changes made a huge difference.
The dimple test on Mythbusters was another relatively simple change that made a huge difference.
http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/mythbusters-dimpled-car-minimyth.html

Re:Low hanging fruit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080596)

They aren't.

I actually saw an article today about adding a tail to the end of truck trailers that could improve efficiency 4%.

No one is neglecting aerodynamics anymore (1)

brokeninside (34168) | about 3 years ago | (#37081040)

As one example, the shape of Toyota's redesign of the Yaris in 2007 was largely a function of work to maximize aerodynamic efficiency.

Sure, you'll find a few vehicles like the VW Bug that have atrocious designs that simply cannot be made aerodynamic. But for the most part all of the major manufacturers have been doing extensive windtunnel testing for at least the past ten years.

Or have you not noticed that fewer and fewer cars on the road have straight lines and pointy corners?

ONLY $175 million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080498)

Considering how much money the government has and the scale of the fuel crisis, I wouldn't call this pumping money into solving the problem. More like a dribble.

How about 1000 miles per gram? (1)

Wingsy (761354) | about 3 years ago | (#37080538)

That would be thorium. 1 gram would cost you under 10 bucks.

Re:How about 1000 miles per gram? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080614)

And after 10 grams for everyone, there would be no thorium left on the planet.

*ANYTHING* that doesn't use the sun as an energy source (not as a container though) nowadays is so utterly retarded that its suggesters deserve massive repeated punches in the face, until they grasp the concept of what "non-renewable" means.

Fucking retards!

Re:How about 1000 miles per gram? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080660)

Every-time someone claims we are running out of Element-X I feel strongly compelled to remind them that the earth has a mass of 6x10^24 kgs, but I guess that's just me being a "fucking retard"

Re:How about 1000 miles per gram? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080858)

Remember what basic economics teaches us: as the price goes up, it becomes economical to produce more of the thing in question so that the supply becomes essentially unlimited at high enough prices. That works for oil, that works for thorium, the only thing that's immune to this type of inflation is Bitcoins.

Re:How about 1000 miles per gram? (1)

Wingsy (761354) | about 3 years ago | (#37080736)

Dunno where you got that from, but the US alone has 440,000 TONS of the stuff. That's 4x10^11 grams.

So who is this retard you're referring to? Some AC who posts insults here?

Re:How about 1000 miles per gram? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080840)

And after 10 grams for everyone, there would be no thorium left on the planet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium#Reserves [wikipedia.org] says there is a total of 1,300,000 tonnes of thorium reserves. 10 grams for everyone works out to 60,000 tonnes. 1,300,000 > 60,000, so your statement is false.

*ANYTHING* that doesn't use the sun as an energy source (not as a container though) nowadays is so utterly retarded that its suggesters deserve massive repeated punches in the face, until they grasp the concept of what "non-renewable" means.

You are an idiot (and you should feel honored as this is the first time EVER I called someone an idiot on slashdot).

We can't harness enough of the sun's energy just yet to get us to that point. You are telling us to support something that DOES NOT EXIST YET.

While we are waiting for technology to improve on that point, we are going to flat out ignore your insane rantings and use what we can to grow our society, concentrating on getting the most bang for the buck. This means we are going to use oil, we are going to use natural gas, we are going to use fission fuel. We have HUNDREDS of YEARS of reserves of these items, USING CURRENT TECHNOLOGY. Down the road, when solar/wind/etc technology gets to the point of powering everything, THEN we will let you talk. Until then, shut up.

Go back and read that. Then, once you wipe the fingerprint smears off the screen, tell me: Can you grasp that? We are going to make the best of what we HAVE, even though it doesn't meet your mandate, because your mandate right now is FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE and we aren't going to abandon all current energy sources and go back to the trees just because you are an uppity twat.

Fucking retards!

No kidding, took two of them to spawn you.

Re:How about 1000 miles per gram? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#37080628)

that's a joke? make that thorium in a central nuclear power plant, and it's a solution

Re:How about 1000 miles per gram? (1)

Wingsy (761354) | about 3 years ago | (#37080692)

No, not a joke.

http://wardsauto.com/ar/thorium_power_car_110811/ [wardsauto.com]

Re:How about 1000 miles per gram? (1, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#37080726)

hah, sorry but that is a hoax, a scam to get investor money. you can't induce fission, nor can you induce faster thorium decay, by heating with a laser. What you can do is make a thorium breeder reactor, which will NOT fit in a car.

Re:How about 1000 miles per gram? (1)

Wingsy (761354) | about 3 years ago | (#37080756)

I don't want to hear that! :)

Re:How about 1000 miles per gram? (1)

Wingsy (761354) | about 3 years ago | (#37080712)

I re-read the article. 1 gm of thorium has the energy of 7,500 gallons of gasoline, so my topic should read something like "How about 150,000 miles per gram".

Re:How about 1000 miles per gram? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 3 years ago | (#37080760)

Fell for that scam, did you?

I have a better solution (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080568)

Make it hard to get a driver's license.

Re:I have a better solution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37080874)

"Make it hard to get a driver's license."

Great idea !

We will start with you. You will henceforth not be able to drive a motorized
vehicle. Now, aren't you glad you were so willing to sacrifice that you are
on the bus with people who shit in their pants and haven't bathed in a month ?

Government. What do you expect? (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about 3 years ago | (#37080730)

More of the same coming from a government - spend more money on more shit that government sees as profitable. But this has nothing with profitability of a business, this has to do with profitability for various government contractors.

Who is to say that if all of this credit, that government is crowding the private sector out of was available to the private sector, that the private sector would be sinking all of this into more oil research?

Why not real alternative ways to generate energy, like miniature nuclear reactors?

Anyway, I expect a bunch of pro-government replies and mods in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ...

Loopholes (1)

Coppit (2441) | about 3 years ago | (#37080830)

Does anyone know if the new fuel standards close the loophole that allow SUVs and trucks to be exempt from the standards?

They fit into the "light truck" category (2)

brokeninside (34168) | about 3 years ago | (#37081008)

According to Wiki, "light truck" means any vehicle capable of carrying less than 4,000 lbs. Your most popular minivans, SUVs and pickups will fit into that category.

But note that the proposed standard is an average of the entire fleet. So in 2025, for every subcompacts with 100mpg, there could be an SUV with mileage essentially unchanged from today. (This isn't quite true. Each category--cars, light trucks, etc.--has to meet certain improvements within the category.)

It's not a horrible approach. And the best approaches are probably politically unfeasible. If the US raised gas taxes to a level that would capture true costs of using that gas, the market would shit to higher mpg vehicles all on its own. But good luck getting a 100% or 150% federal tax on gasoline and diesel passed.

Re:Loopholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37081090)

I hope not!

I drive a full-size pickup with a manual transmission. I generally ride solo and seldom carry significant cargo. I maintain my TRUCK in good mechanical condition While I would not object to better mpg I am unwilling to sacrifice performance or safety ( my truck is made primarily of STEEL and i am glad of it!). I pay what I must for gas and accept that it is expensive and likely to become more so. I am happy to grant you your own choices, I make no apology for my choice; I do not accept that people with your apparent viewpoint should be permitted to restrict my choices or to artificially inflate my costs.

That is what I think; I will now "listen" to what you think, if you choose to reply. Please try to come up with something other than "you're killing the planet" or "you don't 'need' to drive that monster"

Regards
'Truck guy'

What about methanol? (1)

amitofu (705703) | about 3 years ago | (#37081120)

Methanol is the obvious solution (which is why everyone ignores it). We need to destroy the oil cartel that is looting our country--we can't do that when we only control a few percent of the fuel market.

But we have lots of coal and natural gas from which we can easily produce lots of methanol. Adapting new cars to run on any combination of gasoline and methanol is trivial, you just have to reprogram the ECU and make sure the fuel lines are up to snuff. And to be clear, a flex-fuel car can run on BOTH methanol and gasoline, you have a choice.

Methanol can also be made from any source of biomass, so it can be renewable and global-warming neutral too. Unfortunately, the car companies are owned by people who have even larger stakes in the oil industry, so they will never voluntarily make all their cars flex-fueled. Congress needs to mandate that all new cars sold in the U.S. be flex-fueled. It's as simple as that to get out of this mess. No "alternative fuel research" required.

Re:What about methanol? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37081140)

Adapting new cars to run on any combination of gasoline and methanol is trivial, you just have to reprogram the ECU and make sure the fuel lines are up to snuff.

On the contrary, it is far more than just "reprogram the ECU and make sure the fuel lines are up to snuff." You do know that there is extensive emissions testing with each powertrain combination, right?

the Obama fuel conservation plan: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37081160)

phart in a jar!

No wonder automakers didn't complain more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37081190)

I was really wondering why there wasn't more news about the automakers belly aching about the new Obama CAFE standards. I guess they figgured they would get subsidized for the research, and ultimately pass the costs to the consumer anyway, so why should they care?

OBTW moves like this are full of unintended consequences. Federal regulators push for things like reduced oil change intervals has resulted in manufacturers increasing the recommended interval up to 15-25K miles, with little mechanical changes. Sure modern synthetics are great, but not that great. Ultimately the manufacturer is accepting reduced service life of the vehicle to meet the requirements. This results in less oil used over the life of the car, but reduces the life of the car resulting in more waste of energy required in manufacture.

Same story for run flat tires.

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