Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Think Cars are really more fuel efficient ? Then you would be wrong.

Average fuel efficiency of a US vehicle has improved only three miles per gallon since the days of the Ford Model T.

According to Ford, the Model T – which began mass-production in 1913 – averaged a fairly healthy 25 miles to the gallon. Nonetheless, by 1923, the year the study begins, the average fuel efficiency of the entire US fleet was 14 mpg. That figure remained about the same for more than a decade

From 1935, however, fuel efficiency fell into steady decline, dropping to an alarming 11.9 mpg in 1973

From 1974 the economy of the US fleet improved five miles a gallon to 16.9 mpg in 1991. Curiously, since then – despite growing environmental awareness and publicly-voiced concern – improvement has been painfully slow, reaching just 17.2 mpg in 2006

The article then goes on to claim, it is the older cars on the road that are part of the problem.
Well, cash for clunkers didn't improve that situation much, if at all.

Perhaps the issue really is, that Automakers and Big Oil like poor fuel efficiency. It keeps everyone happy and profitable.


  1. The model T was a lot smaller than what we drive today. It only had about 20 HP.

    Also, there are limits to how hot the engines can run and this is determined by materials used to make engine blocks, pistons, crankshafts, etc. The hotter they run, the more efficient they are.

    The main problem with burning fuel is the additives. The fuel + air mixture reacts to create CO2, H2O and Carbon Monoxide which rapidly rises because it is light. The additional additives give us problems with pollution for octane enhancement and we don't need them.

  2. Interesting, but, do you not think with modern technology we can drive more efficient cars.

    I know that article leaned towards the whole carbon foot print thing, but, still I am all for the wise use of resources.

    I am not so sure that auto have always used resources as wisely as they should have....

  3. I think we could and should be driving electric cars. But electric cars are cheaper and easier to build and would last much longer. Given this free time for the slaves, what would they do ?

    I think we could develop nearly ideal batteries that are very small and light weight and last virtually forever. They are called "super-capacitors" and if they do get developed, I doubt we would ever see them.

    It may be that we could have more efficent gas cars, but an electric car economy would be revolution rather than simple evolution of an existing technology.

    Cars could last for 50 years - they could be bought by components and assembled at home, similar to computers. Software could be regularly upgraded just like PC's now.

    I don't think we ever see the bleeding edge of modern technology except in the PC.

  4. And even in the PC sometimes that is questionable?

  5. Where does the energy for the batteries for electric cars come from?