Fuel Efficiency.....

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
As we are now spending $billions fighting a war about oil resources (there's no denying that...if Iraq's main natural resource was citrus fruits, would we be honestly and truly fighting *this* war?), what's the feeling about an all out national effort to increase fuel efficiency in engines to make the best use of the oil thats currently around?



Oil will start to become scarcer, more expensive etc. in the near future, meaning that the lifestyle we all take for granted...ie being able to jump in a car and travel as often as we want whenever we want, will be over...certainly as far as our kids are concerned, unless we find a replacement for oil, and really fast....and find a way of making cars use less of it.



Long ago there were rumors of a 200 mpg car, using a carburetor deigned by a Charles Pogue....and there were the usual tales of the oil industry covering it up, conspiracy theories and the like. A quick check in snopes.com quickly debunks this little tale

http://www.snopes.com/autos/business/carburetor.php



Then The Times of London, Britains most establishment conservative broadsheet newspaper, publishes this story:



http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFr...629399,00.html



(It's not Aprils fools day quite yet... is this a joke?). I don't know about car engines...so is this kosher...any mechanical engineers in here? Is 200 miles per gallon with a V8 engine really possible? Imagine the gas mileage using a smaller engine, or a hybrid even....



Or am I too optimistic? Or is fuel efficiency not considered a worthwhile area of research these days by US automakers?
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    alcimedesalcimedes Posts: 5,486member
    Quote:

    ?You can get fantastic mileage if you?re prepared to de-rate the vehicle to a point where, for example, it might take you ten minutes to accelerate from 0 to 30 miles an hour.?



    this sums it up as far as i've followed when reading up on the subject.



    i know that people had talked about using flywheels to store energy so you can have an engine that doesn't need explosive power, while still being able to accerlate quickly.



    i'll do a search on news.google.com after dinner, see what i can find.



    offhand i'd say it's not possible, too much energy is wasted as heat in combustion to convert 50-80% to motion, which is what this would have to do.



    ha ha ha, this was my favorite line of the snopes article.



    Quote:

    Those who are tempted to believe the Evil Government is responsible for keeping this miracle out of our hands should reflect for a moment on the current state of world politics. The government of the United States would like nothing better than to throw off the yoke of dependence upon foreign oil. A miraculous carburetor would grant that freedom, allowing Americans to continue to enjoy current levels of use without the need to go hat in hand to OPEC or even those dastardly Canadians. The domestic supply would be more than enough.



    i think i'll toss in a vote for April Fool's.
  • Reply 2 of 29
    It's April 1st in England now.



    When on the 31st was this story posted? I'll bet it was just at the end of the day.
  • Reply 3 of 29
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    The war is no longer about oil.
  • Reply 4 of 29
    Companys like eCycle are still trying.

    160 Miles per Gallon
  • Reply 5 of 29
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Gasoline has infrastructure behind it, but one of the reasons it keeps on keeping on is that it still beats the overall picture of most other technologies (for the forseeable future).



    Batteries aren't exactly enviro friendly, and hydrogen isn't actually to efficient when you think of collection and/or storage, which will require power from somewhere.



    Is gas really more expensive today? Relative to the cost of living? A liter of unleaded still costs less than a liter of bottled water. hmmm...



    I think it far more likely that some of the "alternative" sources will become "supplementary" sources and that will aleviate a lot of the pressure for oil, but oil will still be the show for motoring at least.
  • Reply 6 of 29
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    The best uses of all this technology is to reduce air pollution in major cities.
  • Reply 7 of 29
    thttht Posts: 3,932member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by sammi jo

    As we are now spending $billions fighting a war about oil resources (there's no denying that...if Iraq's main natural resource was citrus fruits, would we be honestly and truly fighting *this* war?), what's the feeling about an all out national effort to increase fuel efficiency in engines to make the best use of the oil thats currently around?



    Don't really need to go all out, but a concerted effort yes. We also need concerted efforts to improve the power grid, to increase efficiency in fossil fuel power plants, to design safe nuke power plants, to design alternative power plants, to design power efficient buildings and houses, etc.



    Quote:

    Or am I too optimistic? Or is fuel efficiency not considered a worthwhile area of research these days by US automakers?



    US automakers mostly excel in mediocrity. That's the environment we are in. Gas prices are cheap enough that consumers don't really care, therefore, automakers don't care.



    There is enough room in the internal combustion engine to double fuel efficiency. A 40 mpg SUV is attainable. It's only now that variable valve timing is making it into American engines while they've been in foreign cars for years. VVT yields about a 10% increase fuel efficiency. Increasing the voltage of the battery systems (which in effect is what a hybrid is doing) to around 48 volts will allow quicker starting engines so that it can be turned off during stops. Another 10 to 20% increase in efficiency. There could be these 10 to 20% increases in fuel efficiency in a bunch of different parts of the car: power train (CVT et al), wheel drag, car drag, better engine oil, fuel mixing and injection, valving, etc., that would combine to double the fuel efficiency of car. Heck, if people would only want to drive cars with manual transmissions, we'd save billions upon billions of barrels of oil per day.



    But since Americans don't really car about fuel efficiency, American automakers aren't going to do anything. The only way it's going to happen is if the price of gas is $3+ per gallon. Obviously, one way to get Americans to care is to have a Fed gas tax at the pump, but that's probably politically untenable...
  • Reply 8 of 29
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by THT

    ...

    Heck, if people would only want to drive cars with manual transmissions, we'd save billions upon billions of barrels of oil per day.



    ...




    How do you figure that? I looked at my 2002 Civic man vs auto and there's almost no difference.
  • Reply 9 of 29
    sammi josammi jo Posts: 4,634member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by audiopollution

    It's April 1st in England now.



    When on the 31st was this story posted? I'll bet it was just at the end of the day.




    It came out in the March 31 issue of The Times... too early for April 1...so the April Fool connection might be coincidental. The professor of marine engineering as mentioned in the article also checks out as genuine...so even if the carburetor stor is a fake, at least they used people who actually exist/ have existed.



    If only there was something in this story. I am sick and tired of being gouged $2.50 per gallon at the pumps.
  • Reply 10 of 29
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    I paid $1.45. You're killing the world with your driving SJO. Be like me and take the bus to work. Why do you hate mother earth?
  • Reply 11 of 29
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    Oh BTW SJO what's your MPG?



    For April I'm going to have the month of fuel efficiency and see if I can get my MPG up to what Honda says it can do. 38. I get about 32.



    Hey HTH what's your take on how cold temps effect MPG? In summer it should be better because the air is "pre heated" but ... I have the A/C on too. I noticed my MPG dropped in the winter. Could be a new car getting old but it seems as we move away from 10, 20 , 30 F my MPG is going back up.
  • Reply 12 of 29
    sammi josammi jo Posts: 4,634member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Scott

    I paid $1.45. You're killing the world with your driving SJO. Be like me and take the bus to work. Why do you hate mother earth?



    I live so close to my work (under a mile) that I walk there and back.



    Living here in this part of S. California, you have to have a vehicle of sorts...the layout of this area is designed around the motor vehicle, and public transport here is pathetic (the buses don't even run after 8pm). The whole area is just too huge in area to have an efficient mass transit system. I've used the buses in L.A. and just to get from one side of town to the other and back takes a big chunk out of the day.



    Scott, can't you just be civil for once? A change can be most beneficial...and as a medical person, you should know that such chronic anger can be extremely bad for the health.
  • Reply 13 of 29
    discocowdiscocow Posts: 603member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by sammi jo

    ...Scott, can't you just be civil for once? A change can be most beneficial...and as a medical person, you should know that such chronic anger can be extremely bad for the health.



    Why the hell do you think I'm angry!? I'm not angry!! Do I look angry to you?!
  • Reply 14 of 29
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Scott

    How do you figure that? I looked at my 2002 Civic man vs auto and there's almost no difference.



    The manual version is probably more powerful then.
  • Reply 15 of 29
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by bunge

    The manual version is probably more powerful then.



    No not really. Usually people get better miliage out of a manual than from an automatic because of the extra top gear a manual tranny may offer and that improves over all mileage, BUT that's if they drive a lot on the freeway/highway. The way most people drive a manual, I expect the get WORSE mileage than the same car that's an automatic. And in most heavy traffic scenes now, an automatic is essential IMO.



    While fuel cells are the long term answer, in the short term extremely efficient engines can still be had with IC. A typical IC engine is as efficient as it's going to get now, but with advances in hybrid technology we'll start to see 40-60mpg car and SUVs especially is gas prices start to skyrocket. Right now people are starting to see the value in a fuel efficient automobile, albiet not for environmental reasons but for economic reasons (not the ideal reason but you take what you can get).



    One thing I would like to see explored is the possible use of gas turbine engines. They are used in most helicopters because of their awesome power to weight ratio and are smaller than their internal combustion counterparts. They also have flexable fuel requirements. It can use kerosene, natural gas, rocket fuel, gasoline, etc.



    Problem is that they are expensive to manufacture because of the high speed and friction they make you need some expensive materials to make them. But this can be overcome with exotic high temp ceramics and other heat resistant materials. Another disadvantage I can see is that gas turbines like a constant flow of fuel so the load is now constant and not fluctuating like in an IC engine that powers the drivetrain directly. But this is also a disadvantage for an IC engine because a fluctuating load is less fuel efficient. So turn that frown upside down, so to speak. make that disadvantage an ADVANTAGE. How? by using it as a generator and not a direct method of propulsion. So you would still need an electric motor for main power but the gas turbine would be a more efficient way to make electricity. We already do that. Some powerplants use gas turbines for electricity production and others use steam turbines (coal, natural gas, oil, etc.).

    Imagine a 180hp electric car with 220lb/ft torque that gets 100mpg! And this may be a conservative estimate.
  • Reply 16 of 29
    chinneychinney Posts: 1,019member
    I read somewhere - don't remember where - that we have made pretty solid advances in the last 20 years in fuel efficiency for internal combustion engines. However, automobile manufacturers, responding to demand, have eaten up much of this by bumping up horsepower and the size of vehicles (e.g., SUVs). The result is that the average efficiency of the auto fleet has declined again to about the same level as 20 years ago. Meanwhile, the overall number of cars has increased substantially, as has time spent waiting in (very fuel inefficient) traffic jams.



    240 friggin' horsepower to run around town and sit in traffic.
  • Reply 17 of 29
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Chinney

    I read somewhere - don't remember where - that we have made pretty solid advances in the last 20 years in fuel efficiency for internal combustion engines. However, automobile manufacturers, responding to demand, have eaten up much of this by bumping up horsepower and the size of vehicles (e.g., SUVs). The result is that the overall efficiency of the auto fleet has declined again to about the same level as 20 years ago.



    240 friggin' horsepower to run around town and sit in traffic.




    I agree but I have long since stopped trying to convince the average Joe that a 200+ horsepower car is not needed for a family of 4, nevermind a commuter vehicle.



    I had a wacky idea a few years ago I have been toying with that involved a whole new way of looking at consumer and mass transit. Basically we could travel around in pods with electric motors and small batteries for taxiing around (like in your drive way and parking lots) but cross town and inter-town/inter-state transport would be computer controlled. Rails would be built into the streets that would be computer controlled by a national travel system. the rail would actually be a segmented metal strip of a line of about 8 inch square metal pads that are either electromagnetically on or off.



    In your pod you would program the coordinates of where you wanted to go, it would be as easy as entering a phone number. You would even have an onboard addressbook of common locations. Then you would taxi to the nearest rail (most likely right outside your driveway) and your computer would align it self to the rail and tap into the wireless navigation map. The work of your electric motor is done at this point. After a little push off from it, the metal pads take over and turn on and off in front of your under carriage electromagnet depending on where your vehicle is to accelerate you. Your wheels act as generators to power your magnet. If you go on a highway you can get up to a reasonable speed of about 100mph with no traffic, as it's all computer controlled, and accidents will be dramatically reduced. You can work on your laptop while commuting to work and women can apply their make up with out causing an accident. Traffic lights and stop signes will be a thing of the past. the central computer will coordinate traffic intersections and even lane changes. You'll never have to worry about breakdowns or running out of gas. An array of metal grids is easily adapted to our present street system by simply laying down the metal pads into the asphalt a few inches deep. There is no actual 'rail' your vehicle connects to only the magnetism of the pads. And remember the pads are not always on, only when your car is about to go over it.



    When you get to your location your vehicle takes you to an exit locale and give you back control so you can park you car. Big parking garages may take the hassle out of finding a parking spot by doing it for you but for most places you will taxi around for a spot. By taking a big motor out of the car as well as a fuel tank you make the vehicle smaller and lighter while still retaining enough space for 4-6 people per pod or 2-3 for a smaller commuter pod.



    If powering the rail grid becomes an issue of cost it could simply be billed back to the owner of the pod. The time you access the navigation grid will be billed back at a reasonable rate.



    What do yall think of my utopian idea?
  • Reply 18 of 29
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Scott

    I paid $1.45. You're killing the world with your driving SJO. Be like me and take the bus to work. Why do you hate mother earth?



    We pay ?1.10/liter here in Germany. You take the bus?! Be like me and ride your bike.
  • Reply 19 of 29
    thttht Posts: 3,932member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Scott

    How do you figure that? I looked at my 2002 Civic man vs auto and there's almost no difference.



    In general, manuals should have better mileage than automatics, from 1 to 4 mpg more, typically in both city and highway driving. More in city driving though. The more a car has to shift gears, the worse the mileage, because automatic transmissions use more gas in shifting gears.



    The reason the Civic has the same mileage for automatics and manuals is that it has an excellent automatic transmission. The same can't be said for a lot of American vehicles, or even Honda's other vehicles. Manual transmission for mid-size and full sized American sedans and SUVs are a rarity.



    Eventually, continuous variable transmission, or a variation of the theme, will enter the American car vernacular. This transmission is about as efficient as a manual. It's in several cars today. The Saturn Ion VUE and the Honda Civic HX are a couple.
  • Reply 20 of 29
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Scott



    Hey HTH what's your take on how cold temps effect MPG? In summer it should be better because the air is "pre heated" but ... I have the A/C on too. I noticed my MPG dropped in the winter. Could be a new car getting old but it seems as we move away from 10, 20 , 30 F my MPG is going back up.




    Thermodynamically speaking, the engine is more efficient in summer, because the difference between the intake air and exhaust gas is smaller. However, it should be more powerful in winter, when it can pack more cold, dense air in the cylinders.



    But you know, you can just roll down your window in summer. And drive really fast.
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