Saturday, June 5, 2010

In Search of the Factory Equipped Hyper Miler

Wired Magazine online has a great article about where fuel efficiency will come from. The Federal government is seeking a 34.1 mpg fleetwide CAFE standard for vehicles sold in the US market.  Wired reports that the National Academy of Science asked 12 engineers, scientists and industry certified smart people to examine commercially available technologies and their impact on fuel economy.

This report is titled "Assessment of Technologies for Improving Light Duty Vehicle Fuel Economy"  and is for sale via the link shown.  The website will allow you to skim the document though.  Of course that's not assuming Wikipedia or some other site won't have it posted for free sometime soon (I can't wait to see).

What did they come up with? Fuel efficiency has a high capital cost.

But of course doesn't all new technology?

What else did they conclude? That VW TDI's kick the crap out of hybrids (okay I exaggerate their findings).  They comment that Hybrids cost around $9000 more per vehicle for a 50% fuel savings and Diesel cost around half that for a savings for 35% so therefore more miles and a longer engine life for less money.

Something I can't see mentioned is the energy impact of these technologies before their life on the road.  I would like to start seeing the energy cost of construction of these various technologies.  No luck there yet though.  Guess only the new fuels are held to this standard while the technologies that harness or precede new fuels aren't judged under this category.

Other note.  The Wikipedia post on CAFE standards is worth checking out.

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