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MIT Researcher Explains Why Fuel Economy is Still Low Despite Advances in Fuel Efficiency

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by eheath, Jan 5, 2012.

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  1. eheath

    eheath Member

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    Makes sense to me...

    MIT Researcher Explains Why Fuel Economy is Still Low Despite Advances in Fuel Efficiency

    By Cody Burke



    Read the full story »
  2. wwest40

    wwest40 Member

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    Agree, absolutely, Cost for a gallon of fuel should be taxed incrementally year by year, until in 2020 it is north of $10.00 gallon. Easily enough time for the public and the manufacturers to adjust. And in the interim the tax surplus could be used to retire the cost of Bush's war of choice, balance the budget, and begin building a transportation, high speed rail, etc, infastructure bar none.
    2 people like this.
  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i don't think most people in the u.s. wonder why cars are not fuel efficient. and the funny thing? people who come here from elsewhere fall right into the same trap of driving suv's, pickup trucks and sports/luxury cars. it's cheap gas. i don't think you need an m.i.t. researcher to figure it out, it was mentioned here at least seven years ago.:cool:
  4. eheath

    eheath Member

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    I have no doubt :)
  5. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    While many of us in this forum have been advocating a petrol tax to incentivize fuel economy, the average Merkin could not care less other than screaming "liberal" if prices go up.

    Welcome to the tea party age.
  6. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    bisco, absolutely, this guy didn't even dig as deep as say, exxon. Now exxon said that raising cafe standards was making cars more fuel efficient, which we can read as lack of improving cafe during the 90s and early thousands was part of the problem - lack of choice of fuel efficient cars. That is being corrected. The other side demand side will need some help. The gov'mnt needs to lower subsidies to burn gas, perhaps by slowly raising gas taxes. The fleet is the oldest its ever been at 10.7 years. Low turnover means it will take a while to improve mileage, and I hope its not moving just from a 16mpg truck to a 18mpg truck. The good news is SUV sales peaked in 2004.
  7. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    I don't want to see legitimate businesses get dinged with skyrocketing gasoline costs - taxi drivers, anyone needing a utility vehicle to do business. Can't they get cheaper fuel at commercial fuel stations and have strict controls to keep non-business types out?

    But, the soccer moms driving oversized vehicles has got to go. One would seem a pretty callous individual to care less about dumping in 25 gallons for 400 miles driving.

    About 'fun to drive' factor (part of which is 0 to 60 s times), I often say this ... it doesn't take any skill to mash a gas pedal to rocket off the stop line.

    Going off topic - I used to ride sport bikes in groups on some of the gnarliest, bumpy, steep, narrow backroads here in the Bay Area. It was fun, but took skills, especially at the speeds I can't mention in public. Don't know what you're doing and you'd end up over a cliff. But, anyone can twist a throttle and go fast in a straight line. To me and many here, the challenge is how high MPGs / how little gas can I use?

    So, those who are hooked on power (and size) need to get over it. Unfortunately, the only way that's going to happen is with ever higher fuel prices. Lot of callous individuals in society, unfortunately, but lot of thoughtful ones too.
  8. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    Is there any evidence that he took into consideration the recent change in fuel economy testing?

    It's still a problem, but perhaps not as big as he claims.

    He is an economist, so it's hard to take what he says at face value.
  9. dhchiang

    dhchiang New Member

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    The Prius has a feature that completely changes a driver's focus, which is EASILY added to virtually any car since the introduction of the OBD-II device... The conspicuous fuel economy guage that displays both instantaneous AND average fuel economy. Without this guage, people have no other way to measure their performance as drivers other than speed. Once this guage is displayed in front of their faces, it is hard to ignore the problematic behavior that results in poor fuel economy.
  10. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    But, it won't be added because big oil doesn't give a darn. Prius makes me want to save gas. Why bother trying in gas guzzlers? I considered the Accord Coupe a gas guzzler.
  11. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    The behavior is the fact of the car they bought.:D The average car is now 10.7 years old and there are a large percentage of bad milage ones. The new 328i and civic both have strong eco displays to help drivers. The civic has been a sales disaster for honda, and they are redesigning it. It did not add the power or the fuel economy that other cars in the class have been adding. BMW went from a 6 to a turbo 4 with more power and much more efficiency if driven for it. We will see if consumers like the change. The f150 drivers are moving from v8s to more efficient and powerfull turbo 6s, but these are heavy non-aerodynamic cars so combined mileage only goes from 16 to 18. Ford also has some good eco displays. Cars continue to get bigger, heavier, and more expensive, but more economical choices are available. Will people buy a prius c instead of a camry? I doubt it, but the choice and tools are becoming available. A friend who is not doing well financially had her old ranger brake down and got a new versa. She drives a lot and the car was just over $10k, so gas savings will help her make the payment.
  12. REDWIND88

    REDWIND88 New Member

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    While many of us in this forum have been advocating a petrol tax to incentivize fuel economy, the average Merkin could not care less other than screaming "liberal" if prices go up.

    Welcome to the tea party age
    .

    So should we get rid of opposing views and run YOUR type of government? Have only one party to support? Geeze!
  13. wick1ert

    wick1ert Senior Member

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    There was no mention in that post about a specific type of government or only having one party. What was mentioned, is exactly what's taken place over the last two years.

    The way I look at it, is you really only already have one party in government, you just have separate groups within that party. If you look back over time, both parties have done essentially the same things, just the other group has fought against it. It's the same ole s*** different day.
  14. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Senior Member

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    if you phase it in properly (~1-3% annual) it wouldn't be such a big issue.

    I see dozens of hybrid taxi daily; at current prices it is economically viable for taxi to replace paid off Crown Vic with new Prius payment.
  15. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    This article was aggravatingly short.

    A local newspaper version has more detail, with pictures:
    Cars are more efficient but don't use less gas

    which links to the MIT News Office version:
    The case of the missing gas mileage
    Automakers have made great strides in fuel efficiency in recent decades — but the mileage numbers of individual vehicles have barely increased. An MIT economist explains the conundrum.

    The later also points to the actual paper, but that requires $$.
  16. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    Fuel economy is still low on average because large vehicles garner much more profit for the automakers, most of which are the Big 3 who this year had 65% of their total sales in light trucks and SUVs

    For comparison, Toyota's sales of light trucks and SUVs was only 45% of their total.

    This, relatively low gas prices and some people's need to feel like they own the road in a supersized vehicles is a triple whammy against resources, our planet, and ultimately, us.

    But, really, if someone owns a Chevy Suburban and they drive it 4k miles a year total, to the lake with the boat and family, ah, let 'em have fun.
  17. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Fuel Efficiency advances. Yet average vehicle gets heavier. Fuel mpg's don't get better.

    Can I have my MIT degree now?
    :p

    .
  18. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    I knew this, cars are faster and bigger. Example 1995 maxima, 190 horsepower, gets same or incrementally less mileage than a 2012, which has 290. However, we need not worry about taxing gas up to change people's behavior, the market is doing it by itself. Last year, 2011, Americans spent the most on gas ever, apparently. I'd put good odds on gas overall costing more this year than last. Many are holdouts and keep buying guzzlers but things are changing and use is going down.
  19. kgall

    kgall Active Member

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    We need to internalize the costs of CO2 and other emissions--which are now imposed by energy firms, car manufacturers, and you and me (don't forget those two) on the world in general.

    Carbon taxes are one way to do this.

    Cap and trade--originally the Republican way of doing this, now disowned by most of their leaders--is another way of doing this, friendlier to market principles.
  20. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Yes, I agree. My 2010 Honda Fit has about the same gas mileage as the 80's Toyota Tercel my family had when I was a kid. But how hard is it too understand that the 80's Tercel was about 1/2 the weight, and had almost no safety equipement like airbags?

    Does it really take an MIT researcher to figure this out?
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