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Hybrids Beware? EPA Revises Mileage Standards

timothy posted more than 7 years ago | from the lies-damn-lies-and-downhill-coasters dept.

Power 550

Shivetya writes "The federal Environmental Protection Agency announced a new system for determining the fuel economy of many cars and trucks. Hardest hit will be hybrids as all-electric driving is not considered. At the same time, many medium-duty vehicles will get rated, but not have to be published until 2011 This move to more realistic ratings will severely reduce the high numbers some cars have posted."

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Finally, a new sales pitch for Hummers (4, Funny)

CDMA_Demo (841347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370110)

Chili Palmer: How many miles to the gallon to you get on those Hummers, about 12?
Dabu: Nine.

Re:Finally, a new sales pitch for Hummers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370282)

Homer Simpson: "What kind of milage does this thing get?"
Rainier Wolfcastle: "One highway, zero city."

Re:Finally, a new sales pitch for Hummers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370430)

Andy: I saw your dorkmobile in the parking lot, what does it get, like four miles to the gallon?
Dwight: Uh, try double that. Classic Trans Am, vintage American muscle. Please.

GOOD. (0, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370114)

Now can we PLEASE start getting wheel horsepower ratings at stock? I don't care if my engine is making 300 if the wheels are only seeing 220 (yes I know they would be seeing more than 220, it was just an example)

Re:GOOD. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370452)

Typical drive train loss is 15-30% depending on the configuration. Smaller front wheel drive 5 speeds have less drive train loss then a rear wheel big v8 automatic with OD. I've found some comparisons with Google in the past when I was reseaching figures for my own car and setup. I have 450 rear wheel HP as indicated by various dyno runs and was trying to estimate engine HP.

Even more important then the markeeting driven "HP rating" should be a simple graph showing a dyno run with peak torque and HP noted. Oh, the graph might confuse consumers! Well we are even more let down, fooled, and confused by the peak HP claim that companies use now.

One of my compact cars is rated at 140HP. My mini van that weighs at least 1500lbs more is rated at 165HP. My van will blow that car off of the road even while pulling a 1000lb trailer. The peak HP are almost meaningless. Torque is more important for determining real world output and neither alone are as informative as looking at a dyno run sheet would be. Hell, I guess you could skip the dyno chart and include a 60ft, 1/8 mile and 1/4 time with the trap speed.

Re:GOOD. (4, Insightful)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370486)

One of my compact cars is rated at 140HP. My mini van that weighs at least 1500lbs more is rated at 165HP. My van will blow that car off of the road even while pulling a 1000lb trailer. The peak HP are almost meaningless. Torque is more important for determining real world output and neither alone are as informative as looking at a dyno run sheet would be. Hell, I guess you could skip the dyno chart and include a 60ft, 1/8 mile and 1/4 time with the trap speed.
As the old saying goes, "Horsepower sells cars; torque wins races."

Re:GOOD. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370756)

As the old saying goes, "Horsepower sells cars; torque wins races."

Another saying goes "horsepower is what you see - torque is what you feel." But anyway, one can be converted into the other with gearing, so basically you simply cannot get a full picture of the car without looking at HP, torque, transmission gear ratios, the final ratio... and frankly in order to know how it will perform you have to know something about weight, weight balance, suspension design, distribution of mass...

Re:GOOD. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370716)

True, the trouble with Dyno's is that they all measure differently....in some dyno-comparisons I have seen on various websites using the same car, as much as 10%

Beware of what? (4, Insightful)

localman (111171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370132)

Look, the reality of milage doesn't change because the EPA changes their testing methodology. Yes, the current EPA numbers are inflated. Sounds like the new ones will be deflated. Regardless, I get a real world 40 MPG out of my Prius and that's better than the real world high 20's, low 30's I got out of my previous cars with similar performance. What's the big deal? Why do so many folks go nutty over proving that hybrids are the greatest thing ever or the stupidest thing ever? All cars have different performance, comfort, efficiency, safety, appearance, and cost metrics. So you choose one you like.

By the way, I don't hate HUMMER owners.


Re:Beware of what? (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370200)

I do, but only because they're obnoxious about their cars. Prius owners *can* be the same way as well. (I'm not trying to zing you, either, because you definitely did not come off as obnoxious.)

I was going to buy a prius, until I realized I could get a 2000$ kia pos and run it into the ground and still save hundreds of dollars in gas, over a thousand dollars in insurance, and about 24k on the car itself.

Sure, the I want to send the KIA careening off a cliff, but as far as fuel efficiency *and* economic efficiency goes, it's the best of both worlds.

I still fucking hate that car, though. >.<

Re:Beware of what? (1)

JakiChan (141719) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370242)

Why do so many folks go nutty over proving that hybrids are the greatest thing ever or the stupidest thing ever?
Don't you watch South Park? The folks with hybrids bend over and fart into glasses because they think their farts smell so good. The hybrid drivers are so much more evolved than the rest of us, or so they would have you believe.

I don't really hate hybrids but I do get annoyed when things seem to be rigged for hybrids and against diesel when recent diesel engines are much cleaner than they used to be and on the freeway do much better than a hybrid. You also don't have to pay the weight penalty of batteries and you still get to have gobs of torque.

Re:Beware of what? (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370372)

You should start seeing diesel being treated more fairly. Now that the ultra-low sulfur diesel is
available just about everywhere, cars will be sold that take advantage of it (dare I speculate about
diesel electric hybrids in 2009?).

In the long term, I see biodiesel being more practical than ethanol (easier to make, transport, and
more efficient to use in an internal combustion engine (at least until high-compression engines
optimized for ethanol are built...not these crippled flex fuel engines)), so I'm all for this change.

Re:Beware of what? (1)

TClevenger (252206) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370606)

(dare I speculate about diesel electric hybrids in 2009?).

Go ahead. Diesels have less compression braking, which allows for better regenerative braking for a hybrid over gasoline/electrics. When the prices come way down for hybrid components (as they have for airbags, EFI systems and ABS controllers over the past couple of decades), expect to see hybrid diesels bring together city efficiency and freeway efficiency.

Re:Beware of what? (1)

TClevenger (252206) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370712)

How about straight veggie oil? Requires a bit more work on the engine side, but doesn't require the chemicals that biodiesel production requires. Last time I priced out the 5-gallon drums of veggie at Costco, it came out to somewhere around $2.50 a gallon, which is about in line with what diesel costs in Southern California nowadays.

Re:Beware of what? (1)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370456)

I don't really hate hybrids but I do get annoyed when things seem to be rigged for hybrids and against diesel when recent diesel engines are much cleaner than they used to be and on the freeway do much better than a hybrid.
Blame your favorite money-losing American car company, and its support for and from Big Oil, for the lack of diesel options in US cars.

Re:Beware of what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370766)

I don't really hate hybrids but I do get annoyed when things seem to be rigged for hybrids and against diesel when recent diesel engines are much cleaner than they used to be and on the freeway do much better than a hybrid.
Ugh, diesel engines are LOUD, knocky, and the fumes smell like you're sucking the exhaust off a school bus. No thanks. Diesel is DIRTY, loud and stinky, period! Ever watch a god damn truck drive around? Yea, all that black exhaust blowing into your face is like smelling fucking roses for you eh?

Re:Beware of what? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370252)

what's odd is that some will rise.

My dodge stratus was 2-5 mg higher than what was posted. Whiles my liberty only gets it's highway rating while going from gas station to gas station while driving on the highway.

these are only supposed to more accurately reflect real world driving conditions. Fact is while many hybrids get better than average gas millage a lot of them never see the full numbers posted. driving a hybrid optimally isn't how americans drive.

Re:Beware of what? (3, Informative)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370264)

The big deal is that I get a "real world" 40 mpg out of my 96 Honda Civic, and I don't have a trunk full of toxic batteries. Sure all EPA gas mileage ratings are currently very optimistic, but they are especially optimistic for hybrids, and that's a problem.

The Prius is a great car, but you could almost certainly have gotten a non-hybrid car that was more efficient in real world driving at a much lower price. You wouldn't have to worry about batteries either. As a concrete example my 96 Civic gets much better gas real world mileage than my mother's 2005 Civic hybrid.

Re:Beware of what? (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370580)

Curious statement about getting a non-hybrid car with better mileage than a Prius. I just got a Prius since it has the roominess of the other cars of the small class (Civic, Corolla, PT Cruiser etc.) yet gets significantly better mileage, especially in town. Please name another car that has better mileage and the same interior space. (The Prius gets 45+ MPG in real world driving for me.)

Re:Beware of what? (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370278)

Why do so many folks go nutty over proving that hybrids are the greatest thing ever or the stupidest thing ever?
For some people, hybrids are the environmentally smug way to show off how big your penis is.

Despite all the data saying that hybrids do not create a net energy savings, a lot of people treat 'em as an eco-conscious status symbol.

The energy that goes into building a car outstrips, by far, the amount of gasoline you're going to burn during the 'normal' service life. If you want to do the world a favor, buy an old beater & drive that. Even with all the crap its pre-catalytic converter setup will spew out, you'll still do less net harm than the building of a new car.

Re:Beware of what? (2)

Thraxen (455388) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370312)

Got any stats? I see people say this all the time, but never see any data to back it up.

Re:Beware of what? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370678)

Thats because he doesn't have any stats. This is a tired bloated argument thats thrown around by all the "real" enviromentalists. "Oh yeah! Well, you should just use recycled everything, its net impact is less!". The problem with that nonsensical argument is many fold:

1. Often times recycling is more, not less, wasteful in the net and gross than building some new. It sure makes you feel like you are doing your part, but when you look how much waste is involved, some things are better off not being recycled.
2. Cars have to meet both environmental requirements and servicability requirements for users. In every possible sense, the older a vehicle is the less well it will do in both of those cases. Older cars may be cheaper (unless they are highly sought after models, like muscle cars), but you get what you pay for. And older equipment will produce more waste as it breaks down, converters wear out, engines leak oil, new gas additives don't always play nice with older cars (like RFG and leaking fuel systems in older cars, which is a huge fire hazard)
3. Not everything can be recycled, period.
4. Recycling *is* an industrial process and just like any industrial process it too requires energy, labor, money and resources, but also produces waste.

Re:Beware of what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370734)

From wikipedia (mostly):
Atomic Wt. of Iron - 55.8 g/mol
Heat of Fusion of Iron - 13.81 KJ/mol
Heat Cap of Iron - 25.10 J/mol/oK
Melting Point of Iron -1811oK
Energy of Combustion of Gasoline - 31.6MJ/L

If I didn't screw up anywhere along the way (somebody please check) - it would take 7.6 gallons of gasoline to melt 2500lb of room temperature iron.

Not the answer to your question - but a start.

Re:Beware of what? (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370368)

I had a Toyota Celica that I would get that out of when I was at highway speeds.

I think that if a Prius gets in the HOV lane for that, then a Celica should as well.

Re:Beware of what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370376)

By the way, I don't hate HUMMER owners.

Tree hugger!

Re:Beware of what? (5, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370532)

Heck, I never thought massive MPGs were really the point of Hybrids. You can get massive MPGs out of tiny compact cars with little lawnmower engines. The point of the Hybrids to me is to get decent MPG while not accelerating like a fat kid on a tricycle and not bogging down when you need to move three of your friends somewhere in stop and go traffic.

You're not paying extra for a car that gets exceptionally good MPG. You're paying extra for a car with good MPG that doesn't suck to drive.

Hybrids and cold weather... (1)

klubar (591384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370562)

As a prius owner, what's really interesting is the effect of cold weather on the car. The car looses about 4 to 5 miles per gallon when the weather is below 32. The engine runs much more trying to keep the catalytic converter up to temperature. If you kick on the heat (which is free in a non-hybrid) it really keeps the engine running to warm up the passenger cabin. That's may be why you see prius owners bundled up in winter. (Honda's don't have this problem as the engine runs all the time.)

I summer, the AC puts almost no additional load on the engine. The late model Prius have electric compressors so the engine can be off and you still get A/C. I've wondered why they didn't configure the A/C as a heat pump for cooler days.

By the way, I really like the prius with one or two odd features.

Good relative measure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370142)

If they all drop by the same percentage, then the MPG rating list is still very meaningful. The absolute value difference will be bigger for the hybrids, but that's because they have the higher numbers - duh.

This will only be a problem for zealots and the typical asshole, so I expect to hear a lot about this in the near future - there are LOTS of assholes.

Which cars are overrated? (3, Interesting)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370154)

I have Hyundai Sonata and the mileage quoted on the sticker at the lot is *exactly* what I've gotten. Aside from the hybrid variety, are certain cars more likely to get lower mileage than the EPA estimate?

Re:Which cars are overrated? (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370188)

Good point.. I always got around sticker with my Saturn as well. Maybe the new ratings fit California and their shitty traffic better now.

Re:Which cars are overrated? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370352)

I get pretty consistently below sticker on my toyota camry. (Driving in CA)

Re:Which cars are overrated? (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370422)

Well I'm in CA..though I am in a rural area, so stop and go for long distances is a rare thing.

Maybe I just drive like a grandma.

Re:Which cars are overrated? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370530)

Yeah, I probably should have clarified that this is urban driving.

Re:Which cars are overrated? (4, Funny)

grommit (97148) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370662)

You're only getting good mileage on a Hyundai because the vehicle keeps on getting lighter from parts falling off.

*used to own a Hyundai Excel and will NEVER EVER drive in a Hyundai again*

Hybrids are all gas powered (1)

MushMouth (5650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370182)

Since none of them come from the factory with any way to recharge the battery pack other than driving or braking they are all just gas powered. They are more efficient because the internal combustion engine is sized correctly for charging the battery or maintaining highway speed not for rapid acceleration. People do add chargers and larger batteries but the EPA has never tested aftermarket modifications.

Re:Hybrids are all gas powered (1)

pkulak (815640) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370578)

The word just got stolen before we actually had hybrid cars on the road. We still don't until you can charge a car's batteries from the electric grid somehow. If a Prius is a gas-electric hybrid then so is my Civic. After all, last I checked my radio ran off electricity.

Insight never goes all-electric (3, Insightful)

seebs (15766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370184)

This won't affect the Insight at all; it doesn't have an all-electric mode.

It is, that said, an exceptionally stupid rule; the Prius gets a huge benefit from the all-electric mode, and that ought to be included in the mileage calculations, because it's the bottom line that affects a real user. If your car can do three miles of bumper to bumper traffic with the engine off, instead of burning a quarter gallon of gas idling, you have saved a quarter gallon of gas. That your engine didn't need to be on to achieve this is a feature, not a bug.

Re:Insight never goes all-electric (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370266)

The new rules will lower mileage on all cars, hybrids will simply be the hardest hit. The article isn't too specific, but I'm assuming this is due to low temperature conditions and hard acceleration. Hard acceleration kicks the engine on more quickly, and cold weather means the heater will be on. I'd expect the inclusion of stop-and-go conditions would affect conventional cars more than hybrids, but apparently this isn't enough to compensate for the other changes in the tests.

Re:Insight never goes all-electric (2, Insightful)

2ms (232331) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370364)

Perhaps you haven't stopped to think where that electricity that it is using in all-electric mode comes from -- it comes from converting hydrocarbons into mechanical energy and then mechanical energy into electricity. This is actually a less efficient process than direct conversion of hydrocarbons into mechanical energy, of course. The primary reason hybrids get good mileage in cities is that they are able to shut off engine at idle and that they are able to recoup energy otherwise lost energy through regenerative braking. This is why hybrids do not get as good mileage as diesels outside of city driving.

Anyway, all-electric mode isn't really a distinction with much practical value -- that electricity was generated in the same ways electricity is in combo mode.

Re:Insight never goes all-electric (2, Insightful)

TClevenger (252206) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370642)

The difference is that you have a variety of sources to choose from when "fueling" an electric. Electricity can come from sources as dirty as coal, to sources as clean as wind or solar. (My father will be putting a wind generator on his property this summer, so his fuel source is as clean as can be.) With a gasoline car, you can choose gasoline, or... gasoline.

Re:Insight never goes all-electric (1)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370774)

They are refering to when a hybrid (non charging) goes into all electric mode. That is, the engine stops, and runs off the batteries that were charged during things like braking or idling. It also can come from running the engine at an idle RPM, while driving slower. It's /almost/ free energy, and it definitely should be considered when calculating the MPG. The EPA is not helping at all if they aren't testing real world type uses of the vehicle.

For highway, they should put in a gallon of gas and run the car at highway speeds.

For city, they should put in a gallon of gas and do stop and go traffic.

From what I hear, they don't actually even measure how much gas they put in the car!!!

Re:Insight never goes all-electric (3, Insightful)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370408)

The test doesn't exclude certain types of mileage from the calculation, it changes the type of driving done to be more like how people actually drive.

Re:Insight never goes all-electric (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370416)

This won't affect the Insight at all; it doesn't have an all-electric mode.

As I understand it, none of the Honda models will run all-electric. They are optimized for highway driving with the electric motors as an assist. The Toyota models are optimized for city driving (where all electric makes more sense), hence the higher city than highway mileage rating.

I think the logic is that engines are more efficient at highway speeds, and motors at city speeds.

From a design sense, the Honda system scales better for larger vehicles as the motors are smaller. I believe I've read that car companies are not licensing the Toyota system as the motor size gets to large/heavy to fast as one scales up to larger vehicles - since the all-electric mode requires them to completely power the vehicle. I think other manufacture's designs are along the lines of the Honda system.

I'm not an engineer, but that's what I've read... Anyone have better information?

Re:Insight never goes all-electric (1)

geniusj (140174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370582)

The new Honda Civic Hybrid will go all electric. Mine (model year 2003) won't.

One-Two Punch (5, Insightful)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370192)

Having accurate mileage along with recommendations on raising mpg requirements [cnn.com] could be a very cold shower for the US auto industry.

Getting the US off of the foreign oil tit should be a national security imperative.

Re:One-Two Punch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370404)


I suppose you believe global warming is real, urgent, and caused by humans.

Re:One-Two Punch (1)

feyhunde (700477) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370418)

Indeed, getting off oil is about more than just one issue.

Foreign Oil has ethical issues more severe than coffee. Often enough you get a local strongman supported by oil money, or a clan of bloody thieves.

Oil has a billion and one environmental issues, from CO2, which is claimed to cause the current global warming (although I'm skeptical of causation rather than collation). Not to mention Sulfur, trace minerals, lead, benzene exposure, oil spills killing cute and fuzzy animals.

Or better yet, oil being wasted on burning, rather than plastics and fertilizers for the next thousand years.

I agree, but good luck... (3, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370440)

Gasoline isn't the majority of what oil is used for.

In order to get off the "foreign oil tit", as you put it, we'd have to do alternatives for lubricants, plastics, asphalt, jet fuel, diesel oil, heating oil, etc.

Sure, there are alternatives for may of those (biodiesel, corn-starch plastics, electricity generation fueled by something besides oil, etc), but the alternatives are often more costly (and less efficient) to create than the original... or can be worse for the environment (e.g. coal-fired electrical generation vs. oil-fired). Until oil is expensive enough to make those alternatives more attractive, we're kinda stuck.


California disagrees (3, Informative)

stomv (80392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370640)

51.4% of a barrel of oil goes towards gasoline [ca.gov] according to the state of California.

Fair 'nuff: I was 1.4% off according to CA (2, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370676)

...still leaves 48.6% however; something that isn't going to go away anytime soon, y'know? :)


Re:Fair 'nuff: I was 1.4% off according to CA (1)

bahwi (43111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370742)

No, but it does go a long ways to getting us off of the foreign oil teet. The original post in this thread said foreign oil teet, not to quit using oil altogether. Different things, the US produces lots of oil too. Small steps too, you can't just eliminate anything all at once.

Re:One-Two Punch (1)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370448)

Getting the US off foreign oil doesn't necessarily improve national security. Also, its probably not beneficial economically which is probably worse in economic terms. When all is said an done 911 didn't really do much to the US economically. The US could have bought Iraqi oil with out invading Iraq, all they had to do was repeal the oil sanctions or flagrantly violate them. Given the climate in Iraq it probably would have been better to flagrantly violate them because it prevents other nations from buying the oil from that country thus getting the US a better price and an economic advantage over those who buy from OPEC.

Re:One-Two Punch (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370746)

Getting the US off foreign oil doesn't necessarily improve national security.

In the short term, no. But in the long term, lowering the amount of money flowing into islamic theocracies will lower the amount of money going to islamic terrorists. The US truly is funding both sides of the "war on terror."

When all is said an done 911 didn't really do much to the US economically.

9/11 did have a big impact on the consumer's mindset, but it is hard to say what effects were from 9/11 and what was from the dot-com bust. Except, of course, for the effect on the airline industry (although that industry always sucks).

Re:One-Two Punch (1)

captainjaroslav (893479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370484)

"Getting the US off of the foreign oil tit should be a national security imperative." ...and, since the vast majority of known oil reserves are outside the US and, barring any imperial annexations (even if you had ten ANWRs to drill in), always will be, and given the fact that this condition means the US has, inherently, very little control over the global petroleum market (we may exercise some control over the market through our foreign policy, but not only will that era probably not last no matter what we do, but even now it it costing thousands of lives and whatever shreds of international respect we have to maintain that control), we may thus conclude that the real objective must be to dramatically reduce the US dependence on oil, period. Adding "foreign" to this diverts attention away from the real problem and allows hucksters to propose destroying pristine wilderness areas as a solution to perceived security problems rather than a way for a select few with an enormous amount of money to make even more money, which is all it would really do in the short or long run.

Re:One-Two Punch (1)

isaac (2852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370604)

Actually, you can bet this change is bought and paid-for by the US auto industry. Guess who's getting their clocks cleaned by Toyota's Hybrids?

Collecting fuel efficiency data for medium-duty vehicles but not publishing it until 2011? What a bold initiative!

This is about stalling until the domestics can come up with something to compete with Toyota. They won't, though, because they suck at making anything with tight tolerances.



Good! Now use some science (0, Flamebait)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370212)

The EPA numbers haven't been representative/useful for ages. Every car owner so interested has had to determine their own average mileage, usually via their gas receipts or instant-economy displays on their dashboard.

The City/Highway system doesn't allow for the type of accurate planning that is needed, I'd rather see a Typical rating that is based off of some algorithm that averages city/highway driving on level ground and leaves the rest to the consumer. When I plot cross country flights, I have a known fuel burn-rate I can depend on. With my car, I have to drive until the gauge gets low.

For example, my 1999 Buick Regal has a Typical mileage of 22mpg. That's for my (now mostly) city driving with a touch of highway thrown in. If I spend a lot of time downtown, it might be 17mpg-ish. If I'm on a cross-country trip at a reasonable speed (eg, not 45mph) then I see 26-29mpg. These numbers are based off exact experience. While writing this, I googled to find my 'official mpg' and got this: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/15081.shtm l [fueleconomy.gov]

This site does exactly what I'm suggesting. The official city mileage is 18, the official highway is 27. That's great, but the ACTUAL mileage that I see is the same as what these folks figured off of average spread: 21mpg.

I don't care what my theoretical mileage is, I care what the practical/typical mileage is. For my car, it's 21-22mpg. Dropping the City/Highway trick in favor of something like this gives a more USEFUL number, even if it's at the expense of losing bragging points from a theoretical highway-only number.

And in the end, what's more important?

Re:Good! Now use some science (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370388)

In fairness to the city/highway split, there are people who wind up driving more in one mode or the other. I had a commuter car that hit the highway mileage pretty consistently (32mpg) for most of 2 years. Then I switched jobs, and for the next 2 years got 20mpg, because I was no longer doing a highway commute.

Re:Good! Now use some science (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370754)

When I plot cross country flights, I have a known fuel burn-rate I can depend on. With my car, I have to drive until the gauge gets low.

That's because your plane is running at the same flow rate virtually the whole time. On long distances, I know that my 2002 Camaro SS has a range of about 350 miles (at 24mpg) before I'm really pushing my luck, though I fill up at about 300 miles. For the vast majority of that trip, my cruise control is set somewhere around 75 to 80 mph. I'm only changing the RPM when I'm passing (or on occasion being passed when I have to duck between vehicles moving more slowly), or when getting back on the highway after either fueling or stopping for a rest break.

However, on short distances such as in city driving, the car drops to about 17mpg. I don't have much of a lead foot, and my shift pattern is usually 1-3-5. However, the LS1 is simply a thirsty engine, and idling and acceleration eat up a fair amount of fuel. Any car is going to be at least similar in the randomness of the fuel efficiency, though, even if it's a hybrid. The use is simply too random to work according to a fixed-flow scenario.

Free juice from the man (1)

eltoyoboyo (750015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370222)

A co-worker used to plug his electric pickup truck into an outlet in the parking ramp during the day. I am struggling to remember the company, although it said it right on the side. It was not one of the legendary Ford Ranger EVs. I believe it was a GM mini pickup.

Re:Free juice from the man (2, Informative)

markh100 (696858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370354)

The summary is misleading. The summary states that "all-electric driving is not considered". The article states that hybrids will be most impacted by the rule changes, because aggressive driving and cold weather driving will theoretically minimize the impact on gas mileage provided by all-electric drive.

We bought a Prius in September. We average about 55 MPG in warmer weather, and 47 MPG in driving in cold Michigan/Canadian weather (both city and highway), so I don't think Hybrids will see as big of a drop as the article claims. The only time we see bad gas mileage is for short city trips of 5 minutes or less from a cold start in cold weather. During those for 3-4 minutes, we average anywhere between 15-25 MPG. Once the car is warmed up, the average jumps to around 45-50 MPG. If the goal of the EPA is to make hybrids look as bad as possible, the test should be a short, four minute drive from a cold weather start. In any other condition, the hybrids (at least the Prius) will continue to score well above other consumer automobiles in gas mileage ratings.

Fuel Economy Hasn't Changed Much (1, Troll)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370260)

I have a 1995 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. When I bought the car a year and a half ago, I was curious about the fuel economy. Most of my drive to work is on the highway, and over a period of a week I tracked miles driven and fuel consumed. My decade old car gets 32 miles per gallon. I find it stupid that many cars today brag about that kind of fuel economy on the highway. You would think that in a ten year stretch engines and cars would have become significantly more efficient - even the non-hybrid models.

On a totally unrelated note: SouthPark teaches us that hybrid cars may not contribute to smog, but they do produce a hell of a lot of smug.

Re:Fuel Economy Hasn't Changed Much (1)

The_REAL_DZA (731082) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370392)

You would think that in a ten year stretch engines and cars would have become significantly more efficient - even the non-hybrid models.

Only if a significant improvement in fuel efficiency was directly profitable to the automobile manufacturer. I say this not as a slap at the "greedy car companies" but simply to point out the obvious: the car companies are in business to make money, and as long as lower fuel efficiency and larger body/frame is "profitable" (as long as it sells) they're not going to "waste" the resources necessary to engineer something else. (I also don't point that out as an endorsement of the "let's all drive micro cars or even bicycles" movement; I own a "large" vehicle and a "small" vehicle -- both of which are on the road every day...)

All that said, I'll add this: It's my personal opinion (backed up by no more than just a gut feeling, which has been right more often than not over the years) that "the car companies" probably already have some such designs tucked-away in anticipation of the day when the tide will turn (no sense waiting 'til the last minute, eh?) -- speculation has percolated for years that the auto companies are "sitting on" designs for a 200-mpg engine; I'd wager there's about equal amounts of urban legend and solid fact mixed in there...

Re:Fuel Economy Hasn't Changed Much (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370394)

Actually, we got that exact same 32 mileage in cars since about 1965. Yes, I'm getting old, I know... :)

The point is - the Otto (Petrol) motor is a mature technology and it won't improve anymore. In contrast, we have been getting 50MpG with Diesel cars since about 1975. Gawd knows why Diesel cars are not marketed in North America.

Re:Fuel Economy Hasn't Changed Much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370500)

I challenge your data and/or methodology of testing. The EPA estimates that you should get between 19 and 29 mpg. This is on a brand new car. The 4 cylinder model for the 1994 year was rated at 30 mpg on the highway. I have not heard of cars getting more efficient as they get older. Unless you made significant changes to your car, I just don't see that being possible. Also, consider that we are in a new "horsepower age" where mid level cars have base models with 150 hp and max out over 200 hp. The 4 cylinder Cutlass Ciera was listed at 120 hp.

I really doubt you could beat the EPA estimate unless you were driving downhill. both ways, with no air conditioning on ever.

Re:Fuel Economy Hasn't Changed Much (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370518)

You would think that in a ten year stretch engines and cars would have become significantly more efficient - even the non-hybrid models.

Agreed. But I think the problem is multi-faceted. If cars were built out of light weight composites then the cost would be 5x what they are now (but they would get better gas mileage). Also, manufacturing infrastructure is geared to making each part as cheap as possible, with fuel economy a secondary priority. When I poke around fixing my cars, I marvel at the cheapness of parts and wonder why it couldn't be built a more reliable way that would last - then I realize that the parts/servicing department is an industry unto itself that would go away if an extra buck was spent on build quality. Another thing is cars are made to be snapped together, if a worker has to spend time on an old fashion bolt, then that would increase his time on that car and in turn raise costs.

So in the end, it's about profit and costs, because nobody wants to buy a car that gets 70 mph but costs $100,000.

I also have a hard time envisioning a steel car getting much higher mileage. I'm not saying it's impossible, but i have a hard time seeing it, esp. with all the safety requirements.

air conditioning effects mileage? (3, Interesting)

Cylix (55374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370294)

I thought MythBusters covered this one.

The final thoughts were that no modern air conditioning system should vastly impact gas mileage.

They even tested it on some SUV and came out with very similar gas mileage. (Windows down actually caused slightly more loss).

I'm sure someone will chime in here and clear this up a bit. I was just a bit confused when the article claimed air conditioning was a gas hog. (Note, on an older car I had when I kicked in the AC I really did feel the engine jump to compensate, but this was ages ago.)

Re:air conditioning effects mileage? (2, Informative)

dknj (441802) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370478)

because an SUV has a 5L v8 that doesn't even notice an a/c compresser turning on. while it is true most new cars switch off the a/c upon load to avoid impacting gas milage.. your civic's gas mileage WILL take a hit when the a/c is running full blast during a hot summer day.

for instance, my car tells me i get about 2-3mpg less when driving around without the turbo spooled (4-banger, below 3000rpm). that's an extra tank of gas consumed per month, and my car is relatively newish. who knows how much those older cars drink because they can't disengage the a/c under load

fyi, with spirited driving with or without a/c, my car consumes roughly the same amount of gas.

Re:air conditioning effects mileage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370496)

The amount of energy an A/C system draws is fairly static regardless of the engine size. So it will actually affect a huge SUV alot less then it will a little 3-4 cylinder compact because it draws a relatively smaller % of hp.

Re:air conditioning effects mileage? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370512)

When the AC kicks in on my car I can feel it, because I have 110 hp to work with (peak) - when the car is cruising it's probably making about 25 hp, and single-system automotive AC (the norm) takes 3-5 hp. That's a very large percentage of the power the engine is making.

As you say, you tend to actually get slightly better mileage with the AC on than with the windows down, because modern cars tend to be highly aerodynamic (in an effort to get better mileage ratings.) Open the windows and all that aerodynamic design goes right, uh, out the... you know. There are a couple of exceptions, like the Subaru SVX, which has a race-style window-in-window that you can open without much changing the aerodynamics.

Older vehicles are not at all aerodynamic, and so opening the windows might reduce your drag in some vehicles for all I know :) So running the AC might not be the most efficient option in their case.

Re:air conditioning effects mileage? (2, Interesting)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370566)

The smaller the motor, the more effect that it will have. If you drive a Honda Civic, you're better off with the windows down. If you drive a Toyota Camry, you're better off with the windows up. Mythbusters is only about 75% credible.

I did these tests on my own, recording engine load, fuel flow, AC during idling, and AC during driving. The AC can be VERY taxing.

Re:air conditioning effects mileage? (1)

cez (539085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370572)

I saw that one, I was kinda annoyed they didn't take into account the decreased aerodynamics and increased drag or what have you that you'd expect from the windows being down.

Re:air conditioning effects mileage? (1)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370598)

I own a 1999 Honda Civic SiR. It has a 1.6L 160HP 4 cylinder engine.
When I turn on the air conditioning, I litterally get an "air-brake" effect.
If the cruise-control is on, the RPM's jump up to compensate (IIRC about 200~400rpm).
If I am manually controlling the speed and engage the air-conditioner, I drop speed and available horsepower.

Re:air conditioning effects mileage? (1)

TClevenger (252206) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370668)

Did they test with an accurate method, such as a fuel flow meter, or did they just put in 5 gallons and drive until empty? They just recently started testing with a flow meter, which is the only accurate way to go. (The drive-until-empty method had too many differing factors, such as driving style, location of the fuel pickup in the tank, and steepness of the turns in their circular course.)

All relative? (1)

LinuxInDallas (73952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370302)

Sure, mileage for hybrids will drop with the new regulations but at the same time the mileage on all-gas vehicles will drop as well. Hybrids will still come out on top.

The most energy-efficient vehicle in the world... (2, Informative)

wwiiol_toofless (991717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370306)

...remains the bicycle. But I ain't riding one, I've got whole cows to devour...

won't change my car (4, Interesting)

Mountain_Man87 (253499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370314)

My little 93 Geo Metro XFi would still get pretty much the same mileage as the old EPA ratings 51/58. I currently get 57 MPG driving it like a nut. There are a few metros on the road getting 70+mpg on the road right now.

I want the EPA sticker to indicate: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370316)

average miles per charge using 0.00 gasoline: 80 miles
average hwy mpg after full charge depleted: 50 mpg
average city mpg after full charge depleted: 40 mpg
average time to full charge using household power: 8 hours

I usually travel less than 20 miles per day but I will not consider a hybrid until:

1) I can drive electric-only for a range limited by battery capacity
2) I can charge it at home each night
3) I can drive unlimited miles in gas-electric mode after the batteries are depleted.

But with oil-men in the Whitehouse I'm not holding my breath.

leave it to the government (2, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370318)

Honestly, this sounds like a ploy from the Big 3 automakers lobby groups and Big Oil to make alternative energy sources look less attractive. And, I don't care how you spin it, a hybrid car should always come out better; if not by government standards then by common sense. Common sense has to win over when you burn less gas because the hybrid car has the electric drive. Leave it to government to pass another non-sense law. We need to end our dependence on oil, period! Not just foriegn oil but all sources of it! This will take a more grass roots campaign as Big Oil and GM only pay lip service to alternative energies. It will take us as consumers to make oil unfavorable. After all, this is a market economy and if no wants oil anymore than Big Oil will need to find something else or go bankrupt. There is little to no insentive for the oil companies to invest in alternative energies. We as the consumer create the incentive. You can pass all the clean air initiatives you want and continue to tout the party line but nothing will change until Americans collectively scream, "We want alternative energy vehicles!" Right now, this is far minority.

Why no Diesels in North America? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370326)

Why are diesel cars unavailable in the USA/Canada?

A hybrid is a very expensive way to get the same mileage as a diesel. They are hard to start in Winter compared to a petrol engine, but the Europeans make do somehow.

Re:Why no Diesels in North America? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370502)

Why? Well, it's like this: After seeing how diesel-powered consumer-grade pickup trucks* belch out a dozen cubic yards of black smoke whenever its driver wants to pass someone on the highway, I shudder to think of what a road full of those things would do to the air...

*yes, that includes even the brand-new ones in many cases


Re:Why no Diesels in North America? (1)

ruffnsc (895839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370506)

I agree the Europeans have very efficient diesel engines some even made by American automobile manufacturers. I particularly enjoyed Mercedes 40+mpg CDI engines abroad as fuel is so expensive (several euros per litre). Many people claim that diesels cars are dirty and pollute a lot but with newer technologies I have hear they are quite clean and environmentally friendly. Anyone have any real European diesel data/facts/experience to aid in my rambling?

Re:Why no Diesels in North America? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370534)

They are actually 5 states in the US that prohibit the sales of diesel cars because of emissions restrictions, California, New York, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont. Also there are generally considered stinky and noisy. Not to mention there are some gas stations that do not carry diesel fuel, although most do.

There are some manufacturers that do make diesel vehicles in NA. I know there is Volkswagen with their TDI engines and Mercedes has some. Back in the day Ford used to have a diesel Escort.

Re:Why no Diesels in North America? (1)

bflong (107195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370586)

Several reasons. One that sticks up in my mind is that the in the US the diesel fuel is too high in sulfer to be run in the nice diesel autos that euroupe is full of. It really makes no sense to me. Diesel is not refined as much as gasoline, and it's exactly the same stuff as home heating oil, yet it's more expensive most places. I remember years ago my father had a diesel GMC suburban (full sized SUV with 3 rows of seats). It did not even have a turbo charger and he got high/mid twenty MPG figures. The problem with the newer domestic diesel trucks is that while technology makes the engines more and more effiecent, instead of making the engine get better MPG, they just make them BIGGER to produce more power at the same MPG.
Btw, Chrysler has a diesel version of the Jeep Liberty now. I've only seen a couple on the road.

Re:Why no Diesels in North America? (1)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370690)

Why are diesel cars unavailable in the USA/Canada?
Diesels in autos were banned in California (and I believe New York, as well) due to emissions problems, even though clean-burning diesel technology has existed for ages. Since California represents a huge market, and since it doesn't make much sense for the automakers to have separate models for the California market, diesel autos are relatively rare. Of course, rather than banning diesels, CA could have required the automakers to use the clean-burning technology despite the resistance. Anyways, look how long it took to Get The Lead Out of gasoline (another California initiative): the automakers and Big Oil probably didn't want to deal with TWO major California regulatory issues, so they chose the easiest (unleaded gas).

Re:Why no Diesels in North America? (1)

TClevenger (252206) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370692)

Two reasons: 1. Diesels could not be made clean enough with the formulations used in the U.S. California (and possibly other states) now requires a cleaner diesel fuel, which allows diesels to be as clean as gasoline cars. 2. The diesels that were available in the U.S. in the 80's were unreliable and underpowered, and pretty much turned a lot of people off to diesels. (Thanks, Olds.)

Re:Why no Diesels in North America? (4, Informative)

giminy (94188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370696)

I drive a diesel (VW Jetta) and it is awesome. No cold weather starting problems, either, even when I lived in central new york, where the temperature was regularly in the single digits. Most fuel sellers put additives in their diesel in the winter to prevent the fuel from gelling, and engines have very good glow plugs these days. The motors are even quiet and soot-free these days (unless you really floor the gas pedal)...every time I've told a passenger in my car that it's diesel, they've been surprised and/or didn't believe me.

It's also zippy as heck. The motor produces a ton of torque at really low RPMs so it feels a lot faster than it really is, but the feeling makes it a ton of fun to drive.

The biggest reason that more diesels aren't sold in the states is that California banned the sale of new ones. Several other states adopted California's emissions laws (New York and most of the northeastern states). Consequently not many car companies are interested in investing the time, effort (replace previous two words with 'money') to bring diesels to the US -- it's illegal to sell them in many states so it would be a lot of money spent for not much return in sales revenue.

You can buy used diesel passenger vehicles in any of those states, but it's hard to find them (since they were never sold as new there in the first place) and they fetch a premium. Case in point: I bought mine *used* for $19,500 in New Jersey (where new diesels are actually legal to sell), and it had 42k miles on it at the time. New, the car's sticker price was about $22,000. Now it has 60k miles on it and my car will fetch $21,000 without too much trouble (I live in California these days). It's kind of a shame they aren't more common, as the mileage is good (36 city/50 highway is my real-world driving).

Before people call me a diesel zealot, I'll definitely mention the bad things: they are bad in that they create more particulate in their exhaust, which has been shown in studies to be a carcinogen. Old-skool diesel fuel sold in the US also contained lots of sulfur, which created sulfur dioxide in the exhaust, which in turn created acid rain. The sulfur also prevented good catalytic converters from being used, so diesels create way more NOx. Now that we have low-sulfur diesel in the US, I think diesel cars will become quite a bit better...but the reputation they garnered as smoking, smelly, sooty, bad-for-the-environment cars through the 70s and 80s will probably hurt their chance at widespread adoption in the US.

Diesel is also interestingly becoming more expensive than gasoline where I live. I find it funny, because diesel fuel is a lot easier to produce than gasoline, or so my fuel engineer friend tells me. Still, mile for mile diesel fuel is cheaper, since I get about the double the mileage that I would in a similar gasoline vehicle...

Re:Why no Diesels in North America? (0, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370794)

Why are diesel cars unavailable in the USA/Canada?

Because they aren't? What kind of question is this?

Now, people in the most environmentally-conscious state in the US, California, are currently unable to purchase a diesel car in California. They have to go out of state and bring them back, because California is not permitting the sale of Diesels because their emissions are too nasty on ordinary diesel fuel. This is supposed to change either next year or in 2008, I forget which, because California will mandate that all diesel fuel must be low-sulfur.

Hybrids not so affected (2, Informative)

SoopahMan (706062) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370342)

I really doubt Hybrids will be as markedly impacted by the new tests as suggested in the EPA's discussion. Rapid accelleration is a reason many car buyers buy their car - I own a Prius and I can't even list for you how many times someone told me about its 0-60 performance while I was considering buying it - as a selling point for buying the car! Even over on GreenHybrid.com where fuel efficiency is the point of the entire website, people made endless claims about the Prius' ability to take off off the line.

So bravo for these changes being added. Toyota and Honda are obviously the leaders in this field and they'll either make no change to their strategy and just keep having the highest EPA numbers, or adjust their strategy slightly to keep high EPA numbers but handle rapid accelleration with good mileage numbers - something that, by the way, the current Prius does not do, regardless of how many claims salesmen and Prius enthusiasts made. It gets its great numbers when cruising, or starting and stopping at low speeds - which is just what the old EPA standards tested.

Any environmentalist worried about the Prius dropping from 60mpg EPA to 44mpg should keep in mind 2 things:

The Hummer will probably drop from 11mpg to 9. Single digits won't improve sales. They might harm them. Might.

The 2008/2009 Prius has been claimed by Toyota to get 75mpg under the current standards - so it's entirely possible the new EPA measure will put it at... 60mpg.

So even if the new tests somehow favored gas guzzlers, which I doubt, Honda and Toyota have the technological lead and their MPG numbers are only going to continue to run away from the rest of the pack leaving GM and Ford's "hybrid" sub-30mpg numbers further and further behind.

FTA: No effect on Mileage Requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17370380)

I'm puzzled by the end of the linked article that says ``The new EPA mileage estimates won't harm automakers' ability to meet federal rules requiring an industrywide average fuel economy of 27.5 miles per gallon for cars and 21 mpg for sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and vans. Those requirements are part of the corporate average fuel economy program run by the Transportation Department.''

Isn't the only worthwhile benefit here requiring the car manufacturers to innovate and create vehicles that steadily perform better in this department?

Real Estimates? (2)

AugustZephyr (989775) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370382)

The new system will use more high-speed driving, partly in 20-degree cold. Air conditioning will be on some portion of each driving cycle, and there will be more stop-and-go and rapid-acceleration driving.
So what if they have decided to change the test to simulate driving in sub-freezing and balmy temperatures in the same drive. The reason why the EPA numbers always seem high when you are calculating your fuel economy at the pump is there is now way to perfectly model how an actual person drives there car. You mileage is going to suck if you drive like an F1 racer or be phenomenal if you drive like Ms. Daisy.

Changing the way the numbers are calculated WILL NOT change the way people drive or how the vehciles perform. Hybrids will continue to be more efficient than gasoline powered vehicles despite how the numbers fall out.

Towards a more accurate MPG number (0)

cshbell (931989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370412)

As the owner of a 2006 Prius, I'm glad to hear that the EPA won't consider the "all-electric" mode of hybrids when calculating mileage. They shouldn't, because the "all-electric" mode is somewhat unpredictable. Assuming the internal combustion engine isn't cold (~60F or higher), current hybrids will probably operate in all-electric mode between 0-25 MPH, assuming slow and constant acceleration, flat terrain, etc. If these conditions aren't met, the ICE will kick in.

Note that this isn't a flaw in design; rather, this is exactly how hybrids are supposed to operate. The electric motor powers the car where the ICE is least efficient, and power assists the ICE where the ICE is efficient. Priuses never got the advertised 60 MPG city because it's virtually impossible to guarantee that you'll always be all-electric between 0-25 MPH.

The revised EPA will still show that hybrids are more fuel efficient than gas-only drivetrains. However, with more accurate MPG numbers posted on sales stickers, a more accurate comparison between hybrids and gas-only drivetrains will be possible. This will help potential buyers evaluate whether or not the added up-front cost of a hybrid is justified in long-term fuel savings.

This is dumb... (1)

Thraxen (455388) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370450)

Sure, it may more accurately reflect how the gas is used, but it will not accurately reflect how many miles a hybrid will be able to go on a single tank... and that's all most consumers buying hybrids really care about. At least the can be pleasantly surprised when they actually get more MPG than the EPA estimate.

learn to drive (2, Informative)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370466)

the epa can do whatever they want and it won't change the "real world" results that most people get.

how many people do you know who always have their foot flooring the gas or brake? if people learned to use the accelerator and brakes effectively they would probably save 10 mpg on every tank.

i'll bet i get better mileage in my eclipse than a decent percentage of hybrid owners, simply because most people don't think about how they drive.

Re:learn to drive (1)

MasterC (70492) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370700)

how many people do you know who always have their foot flooring the gas or brake? if people learned to use the accelerator and brakes effectively they would probably save 10 mpg on every tank.
What'd be nice is not having a stoplight every 1/10 mile. Rapid acceleration, as you blame, wouldn't be necessary if you were not stopping and starting... A leads to B, mitigate A and B is mitigated (no that's not a post hoc ergo propter hoc [wikipedia.org] fallacy).

More often than not, I hit lights because people aren't going the speed limit or putz their way up to speed limits. It's a non-straight-forward optimization problem and I think, IMHEG (educated guess), your solution isn't the optimal solution for traffic lights since insufficient acceleration will lead you to hit more lights.

Perhaps if our civil/traffic engineers would better engineer traffic routing then we'd save all the way around. This may require giving up the freedom of spontaneous choice of current-day driving and going the Minority Report way of automated driving, but that's a ways off.

Looks like GM is none to happy (4, Interesting)

plopez (54068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370554)

http://money.cnn.com/2006/12/26/news/companies/gm_ fuel.reut/index.htm?cnn=yes [cnn.com]

Personnaly I am sort of happy to see GM get thier lunch eaten. They've been asleep at the switch for too many years.

Here an interesting article as well. http://www.cnn.com/2006/BUSINESS/12/22/toyota.reut /index.html [cnn.com]

A choice quoute from the head of Toyota: '"The important thing is to be a leader in car-making, and that's done by improving products," he told a year-end news conference, adding that vehicle quality will be Toyota's top priority at a time of rising vehicle recalls.'

An American manager would have spoken some crap about "leveraging synergys for value added customer delight", in other words not admitting to a problem and just engaging in window dressing. American management seems to have lost thier way, focusing on image without addressing fundamentals.

Hoo-fucking-ray. (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370656)

Just shows how slow the government is to correct any errors it produces. Hell, if it took THIS long to correct inaccurate gas mileage numbers, how long will it take to correct our deficit?

Nevermind... I'm reaching :(

Not a big change in my Diesel :) (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370694)

My '06 VW Golf TDI was rated for 37/44 mpg and I average 42mpg (70/30 mix highway/city), and I'm not going light on the gas pedal. (Yes, I do track every tank in a spread sheet)

It's good that they are revamping the test, but it's bad that it may not accurately reflect the real life experiences that full electric drivers will experience.


95mph, 250mile, 10 minute charge electric vehicle (3, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370728)

5 Passengers and a load as well...

http://phoenixmotorcars.com/models/fleet.html [phoenixmotorcars.com]

An electric vehicle has almost no parts which require servicing; no valves, no spark plugs, no oil to change, no air filter, no piston rings. Basically it'll last as long as the chassis is structurally sound and the bodywork remains reasonable. The only bits which'll wear out are the consumables, the battery and bearings. With a battery which can last for 20 years, there's no real reason the vehicle shouldn't do a million miles with bugger all servicing.

The battery:

"In addition to high power the Altairnano NanoSafe
batteries deliver:
  Long life - potentially up to 20+ year life
  Very fast charge - rechargeable in minutes
  Extremely wide operating temperature range
from -50C/-60F to +75C/165F
  Inherent safety - no risk of thermal runaway"

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  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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