Hitting 52.5 mpg won't require major tech advancement

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71 Responses to “Hitting 52.5 mpg won't require major tech advancement”

  1. Guest says:

    efficiency is a liberal conspiracy

  2. sinewave42 says:

    Call me glib, but there’s a really obvious solution: build sensible cars like, I don’t know, the ones we’ve been building and using in Europe since forever.

  3. seyo says:

    60+ mpg technology was developed DECADES ago, using no fancy materials. This was achieved with carbureted engines, not computer controlled fuel injection. The technology was bought up by the US automakers for the purpose of silencing it. They could have 60+ mpg cars rolling off assembly lines right now if they wanted to, but this about squeezing out every penny of ROI. They (automakers and oil companies) should all be prosecuted along with the banksters who have crashed the global economy all while stuffing their pockets with our tax dollars.

    • Peter Turpin says:

      I used to own a Morris Minor 1000, built in 1958. It had a very respectable (official) mpg of 38mpg. However it could also only hit an absolute car-shaking maximum of 77mph, and had a 0-60 time of over 30 seconds on it’s 948cc engine.
      I also have an old Lister Model-D stationary engine. It will quite happily sit and run unattended on a couple of pints of fuel all day long. Attached to a wheeled cart it would get FAR more than 60mpg. But it would only be moving at about 3mph.
      There are vehicles out there that can get hundreds of miles to the gallon, but they’re ultralight bicycle-wheeled contraptions that circle testing tracks for challenges.

      There are more factors in play than just raw MPG figures. If you want a car that can do 70 without rattling itself to pieces, can carry our ever growing bodies and piles of stuff around, do so safely and be able to accelerate rapidly enough to get out of trouble, then on petrol you’re not going to get much more than what’s currently out there (60-90mpg, if lucky).
      If you want a readily available vehicle that can routinely get 100mpg+, get a motorbike.

      And for the “Magic Carb Conspiracy”, since I don’t want to make two posts; http://www.snopes.com/autos/business/carburetor.asp

      • Eric Rucker says:

        Even motorcycles, you need to hypermile to get 100 miles per US gallon (maybe per UK gallon, though), due to the aero. Maybe a scooter, but those won’t do the 70 mph comfortably part, either.

        The sad part is I just watched a video by some guy that used a variation on the magic carb conspiracy with diesel engines – claiming that a full-size pickup could get 40 mpg and 100 mph with a diesel out of a tractor (so low revs, low horsepower). Possible, but the 40 mpg won’t be at anything like a reasonable speed…

    • Mister44 says:

      OMG – where do people come up with this stuff?

      As @boingboing-215a71a12769b056c3c32e7299f1c5ed:disqus said, “If an automaker could sell a 60mpg vehicle that’s as good or better than
      any other at a comparable price they would – and they would make a mint
      at it.”

      They are not hording technology. The idea is ridiculous. Patents only last for 14 years. They can’t  keep it a secret, and they can’t keep others from using the tech for ‘decades’.

      The  car makers have NO reason to not make more fuel efficient cars.  They are not in cahoots with the oil companies.  If they were, we wouldn’t have GM need a huge gov. bailout while oil is making some of its biggest profits ever!

      • seyo says:

        The reason they resist building more fuel efficient cars is because they are beholden to the oil companies, whose business it is to sell more gasoline.

        • Mister44 says:

          Pfft. In what way are they beholden? Hell – it should be the other way around, with out cars we wouldn’t need nearly as much oil.

          • seyo says:

            You’re right, they’re not beholden to the oil industry. They are partners. The auto industry exists to create a reason for which oil products to be consumed in the first place.

          • Mister44 says:

            Again – if there was any money from oil companies for car companies to not make efficient cars, then you wouldn’t see a floundering auto industry that needed bail outs.

          • seyo says:

            Again, the US auto industry has resisted making fuel efficient cars in favor of making gas guzzling SUVs to satisfy their oil company overlords which no one wanted anymore, and that’s why they floundered.

          • Mister44 says:

            Sigh… why am I doing this….  The SUV started out being something for rural areas and ‘work’ trucks. Slowly they became more desirable and the urban person was buying them. The car companies started to push them because the profit they made was a lot more, whereas something like a Ford Focus

            You know what – no. You’re nuts. There are no ‘oil overlords’ controlling the auto industry.

          • seyo says:

            “You’re nuts”

            That’s all you’ve got?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collusion

  4. Alvis says:

    Modern cars are too damn heavy.  Was reading in Popular Mechanics – they’re something like 40% heavier than they were 30 years ago, and while some of that is safety-related (want safe cars? get SUVs and trucks with too-high fenders off the road), much of it is buyer preference for roomier, cushier cabins.

    It’s not the cars that need to be redesigned, it’s buyer expectations.  Your car needn’t be a home away from home, with TV screens (I want to punch anyone I see with a flat panel display in a car – it’s a CAR!), broadband internet, and massage chairs; make people expect bare-bones conveyances.

  5. European fuel economy is something like 45 mpg and Chinese fuel economy is around 35 mpg,  today.  US, as in many other things, has been lagging behind for a long time while we tell ourselves “We’re #1!!!”

    • Simon Taylor says:

      I was in the US this summer and they were advertising a car that did 28mpg as though that was good. Made me laugh, my first car did 40mpg and that was 20 years ago.

      I thought most cars did more than 45mpg, and then I realised that I live in Europe and you’ve all been sold silly big heavy cars for years. Why do you let the car companies sell you such nonsense? Why do so many of your cars have engines bigger than 2 litres? That’s the travesty.

      I just read another comment that said safety standards are heavy…hee-hee! Not heard that one before. Why not just make all the cars half the weight then it wouldn’t be so damn hard to make them all safe. Momentum = mass x velocity.

      What a mess, come on America, wake up!

      • Lt. Col. w00t says:

        American cars are bigger because the incentives for them to be small, as in Europe, are greatly reduced. The American tax structure doesn’t promote smaller cars, and American cities and roads don’t require them either. If there are not large financial and practical incentives for smaller cars, consumer demand tends to be for larger ones. Australian cars are comparable in size to American ones.

        Safety equipment and promotion does make a car heavier. It is a factor in the ever-increasing weight of automobiles. Not the main factor, but a factor that cannot be removed. Simply saying ‘momentum= mass x velocity” reveals a vast ignorance of engineering principles. Simply cutting half the weight from a vehicle would require removing a large amount of primary structural material, thus making them much more dangerous in the absence of other mitigation efforts.

      • Mister44 says:

        re: “Why not just make all the cars half the weight then it wouldn’t be so damn hard to make them all safe”

        Great idea. Now… what are you going to do with the hundreds of millions of large cars out there ready to lay waste to your compact? If you perfected the shrinking ray, my god man, don’t waste it on cars!

        And not being from America, you probably don’t understand the ‘car culture’. The car is very much an extension of oneself. We spend a lot of time in them, and we like them to be comfy… homey, even. The larger cars are for more room, more room for the kids, the huge ass Britax car seat, DVD players, the family dog, the GPS locked onto a location in the Nevada desert, and the dead hooker in the back with a couple of shovels.

         We travel by car farther and more often than in Europe. I have friends in the UK act like something an hour away was unreachable, like it was at the bottom of the ocean. Many Americans spend an hour just to get to work.

        So different places, different needs. The car perfect for putting around London with an occasional jaunt around Cotswolds, is different than the one that commutes an hour a day to work, often picks up 5 kids for soccer practice twice a week, and can keep everyone happy during an 8 hour car ride to grandmas.

        • dculberson says:

          That’s something a lot of European people forget – we have massive distances to cover and very little mass transit to do it in.  We can easily cover a distance that would put a Londoner in Tehran but it’s barely halfway across our country.  Try covering 3,700 miles in a Smart car in one shot.

          • travtastic says:

            Why would you do that, and why does the size of the car matter?

          • Lt. Col. w00t says:

            You mean, why would you travel across the country? Is that what you’re asking?

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            why does the size of the car matter

            I think that the issue is supposed to be about comfort. However, as someone with a 36″ inseam, who does a lot of research before buying a vehicle, I can tell you that SUVs generally have less leg room than cars. The back seat of a Corolla is more comfortable than the back seat of a Hummer.

          • gwailo_joe says:

            Indeed.  Smarts and Fits and Yarises have their place in the automotive canon; but for long distance driving, one hopes for some room in the cab and some pep at the pedal.  Those little guys might make it across the country, but it would hardly be the most enjoyable trip.

            “Europeans think a hundred miles is a long distance, Americans think a hundred years is a long time”

        • John Delaney says:

          Well, maybe an hour long commute is a bit unhealthy, for your midriff and the environment.  There is not a lot you can do to control housing availability and mass transit, but you can look for work closer to home and family, you can look into commuter checks at work, and you can vote.

          I’m looking at you Marin County.

          • Mister44 says:

            Mmmm – this is all well and true. I imagine different cities have different issues. Where I live it seems nearly everyone has a 30min commute. And a job change can make that go +/- another 30 min easy.

            There are a lot of other factors about where you live, such as proximity to family. Having the in laws 5 min away may be worth a longer commute. Then there are the big things, like schools, taxes, and crime rate. If I were to live where I used to work, my kid would go to one of the worst schools in the city. Instead we now live near one of the best ones.

            My dad used to commute an hour +. It sucked, but it was back in the 80′s during the recession and he was lucky to have a job at that point. We already lived in an area that had a super low cost of living. We couldn’t really afford to go anywhere else at the time.

            He drove a Mazda GLC for commuting. One night he hit a deer with it and from then on he called it his .357 Mazda.

      • Hanglyman says:

        While I agree with your post for the most part, you kind of come across as rather gleefully arrogant. “Hee hee! Your country has problems mine doesn’t have! You’re silly! Why do you LET bad things happen in your country? Wake up!!”

        In case you haven’t noticed, it can be spectacularly difficult for individual consumers to influence huge corporations, especially where massive amounts of greed and corruption are involved. That doesn’t mean that we’re unaware of the problems. About the only power most of us have as consumers is to influence change with our buying decisions, and few of us are rich enough to import a car from Europe.

    • oasisob1 says:

      Citation needed.

  6. retrojoe says:

    Cars don’t need to just meet fuel economy standards; there are safety and emissions standards as well. In various ways these last two work against the other. Making a vehicle more safe, while still affordable, necessitates more weight (although synthetics and advanced controls are helping). Lowering emissions often comes are the expense of fuel economy (the catalytic converter, for instance). It’s clear the industry is far behind what’s possible but advances don’t occur in a vacuum.

  7. Eric Rucker says:

    So, roll back the EPA standards. Roll back safety standards. Include motorcycles in the CAFE ratings. Etc., etc., etc.

    (Meanwhile, I’ll keep planning my three-wheel, 150 mpUSg vehicle design… the trick there is narrow, long, and relatively lightweight.)

  8. cymk says:

    Part of the problem is that car makers haven’t had any real incentive to revolution things as far as car design/engineering goes. Sure we have made advances in the last 30 years, but for the most part all cars are still roughly the same save for a fender curve here and a window angle there (I’m looking at you corvette).

    The other part of the problem is people want to take their living rooms with them when they drive; TVs, radios, video games, luxurious seating, 5 cup holders per person, etc…

    • dculberson says:

      Anyone that thinks a current Corvette is in any way similar to a Corvette from 30 years ago hasn’t driven or read anything about either one.  A current Corvette is a world class sports car that gets 28mpg with a 430hp engine.  There is nothing antiquated about that car.

      And anyone claiming that car efficiency hasn’t advanced is completely out of their minds.  Cars are heavier, safer, faster, more comfortable, and more reliable than they ever have been, but they still get as good or better real world gas mileage.  I love my old cars, but I’m not blind to the advances that have happened in the last decades.  Efficiency is a very complex problem and distilling it to some absurdist fantasy about the automakers buying up technology to bury it is a farce.  If an automaker could sell a 60mpg vehicle that’s as good or better than any other at a comparable price they would – and they would make a mint at it.  But they can’t, because it’s more complex than some schoolboy fantasy of a “100mpg carburetor.”

      As materials science advances and the SUV phenomenon fades we will get our lighter weight cars back.  With that will come city efficiency.  Engine technology will continue to progress which will help with our highway efficiency.  But there isn’t any single magic pill that will make cars suddenly get 100mpg any more than there’s a magic pill that will cure all cancers.  It’s a complex problem with incredibly complex solutions.

      • Eric Rucker says:

        The bigger problem on the highway than powertrain efficiency, IMO, is aerodynamics. However, there’s also a social acceptance issue there.
        Aerodynamic form factors tend to be described as ugly eco-weenie-mobiles.

        My own three-wheeled project idea has been described as a “three-wheel pussy dryer”.

      • cymk says:

        My point is that corvette body styling hasn’t changes since the 80s (yes, thats 30 yeas ago, granted early 80s vettes were blessed with 70s body design). The engine under the hood may be world class but the design looks like ass, the same kind of ass it has been since they started the 4th generation of corvettes.

         You can think that automakers hiding technology is a conspiracy all you want, but the bottom line with automakers is the money they make. It is cheaper to continue making the same crap them revolutionize with something new. Look at the electric car; the only reason its not overwhelmingly successful is the extra cost the automakers tack onto it and the lack on infrastructure to charge the car on the go.

        • dculberson says:

          Dude, a 1980′s Corvette does not look the same as a 2011 Corvette.  They’re not even close.  Maybe if you’re legally blind?

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        A current Corvette is a world class sports car that gets 28mpg with a 430hp engine.

        Any insight as to why they’re always going 5 mph under the speed limit?

    • John Delaney says:

      In fairness, because the US was constructed with a certain lifestyle in mind, we’re stuck with the fallout from short-sighted lobby induced transportation planning.  Now people are stuck in traffic and its no wonder they want their car to be comfortable.  The lifestyles we’ve come to expect put us in our cars far longer than in other parts of the world.  The US is spread out and suburban.

      You can’t blame people for wanting comfort.  You can’t blame car companies for trying to capitalize on this and make higher profits or use comfort as a competition point.

      Things will change.

  9. Bicycles – still more fuel efficient than any car.  I’m about to get on mine and pedal home.

  10. fnarf says:

    It would help if carmakers and government would stop blocking fuel-efficient small cars from being sold in America. It took a DECADE for the Smart to make it to these shores, and even then only with a stupid, over-inflated engine that destroys the fuel efficiency. There’s an electric Smart now; not available in the US. Volkswagen has been TDIs with Blumotion that get 60 MPG in Europe for years, but you can’t get them here. The ones you get here are more like 40 MPG at best. The exciting new Fiat 500 gets 60+ in its most efficient model — the US model gets about 35, comparable to a gigantic clunky sedan. There are dozens more examples. You simply cannot buy a super-efficient car in America for any amount of money. It’s not allowed. These cars are widely available elsewhere in the world, and yes, they would meet our EPA and crash-tests.

  11. ClayE says:

    Right now my ’89 Electric Cabriolet gets an average 200 W-h/mile.
    On an energy basis (1gal gas = 36,000W-h) that gives me 180
    miles/gal.

    Done and done.  
    No exotic materials or unobtanium technology.
    Built the thing myself in my driveway.

    • fnarf says:

      Lots of people have done similar things. They’re interesting, but unless and until you have a plan for producing millions of them, you’re not solving the problem. It’s a stunt. A cool stunt, but not an industry.

      • ClayE says:

        Umm, did we read the same post? Let me expand the argument…

        From high school Econ, to make something work you need two
        things:
             1. Supply
             2. Demand

        My original post alluded that the Supply side isn’t a big
        problem. I.e. “I built it in my driveway”

        I’d imagine that any auto company with teams of engineers
        and manufacturing capability can do the same, if not better.

        The problem is Demand. But the Government is trying to
        create a demand by forcing “US automakers will {to} have to have an average fleet fuel
        economy of 52.5 miles per gallon.”

        So, now we have both supply and a quasi-demand for electric
        cars.

        >What you say? Electric cars? How did we make a jump from
        52.5mpg avg fleet fuel economy to electric cars?

        Using my cars data as proxy for other cars: I’d imagine in 2025
        Ford Motor Co. sales sheet would look like the following:
        Car type             MPG     Sales Figure
        Electric               180       1
        F-150                  15         3.39

        Fleet Avg = 52.4mpg
        …adjust the retail prices to consumers make the scenario work

    • Cool!  …So, could you actually do 180 miles at once?

  12. Will we still be using gasoline in 2025?

  13. Listener43 says:

    Everyone knows that Detroit has cars that run on water and get 150 miles per gallon, but they only let the executives use them on the weekends and they don’t look any different so we can’t tell.

  14. Lt. Col. w00t says:

    The ‘vette may look like ass, but it’s a very aerodynamic ass.

  15. Jeff says:

    I owned a Honda CRX that got 55mpg on the hiway. Back in 1985.
    So, no, 52.5 by 2025 shouldn’t be a big problem.

  16. Daemonworks says:

    The easiest step in principle is the hardest in practice – stop building the gas-wasters.

    Good luck convincing Americans to stop demanding sports cars, suvs and the like.

  17. retrojoe says:

    A Corvette actually has a rather mediocre drag coefficient. There are plenty of sedans and coupes that are more efficient in terms of air drag. Although this is intentional in many sports cars so as to impart increased down force for improved handling. But that still comes at the expense of fuel mileage.

  18. The key problem isn’t cars.  The key problem is cars interfacing in crashes with pickups, SUVs, and truck trucks.

    Consider a roughly 900 kg Smart Car (1 occupant) hitting a 3600 kg Suburban (3 occupants) head on, both moving 36 mph (16 m/s).  The center of mass of the system is moving at 9.6 m/s towards the Smart; the velocity is equivalent to hitting a fairly solid wall at 57 mph.

    Smaller cars have little crush distance.  The Smart explicitly was designed with a tough frame and to make use of the surrounding environments’ crush characteristics.  Which is great if you hit a relatively soft / collapsing SUV component, lousy if you hit the SUV’s frame, a semi, or a tree or solid concrete object.

    The combination of small and light is particularly traumatic for the smaller vehicles.

    If you reduce the hazard that large vehicles pose, then smaller ones can be safe enough to be worth owning.  Lightening techniques (and hybrid technology) should be pushed into trucks and SUVs…  We can’t do anything about collisions with semis with a container or load of concrete, but far more often it’s colliding with an Explorer or S-10 Pickup or something.  Reducing those truck weights 25% would make a huge difference in small car safety, because the weight ratios come down quickly and the impact multiplier goes down quickly.  And hybridizing the SUVs and trucks can double their mileage easily and take a lot more gas usage out of the overall system than hybridizing a small sedan.

    I drive the smallest car I’m comfortable in now, which weighs 1,400 kg.  It has enough structural strength and crush space to survive a mid-speed head-on on an urban street with an SUV.  I can’t say the same thing of friends of mine who drive Smart cars.

  19. John Delaney says:

    I’m still holding my breath for PRT in every major american city.  I fear I may pass out soon.

  20. Max says:

    I feel obliged to point out that emissions standards are partly to blame for screwing up efficiency.
    First off, lean burn technology was much better than catalysts but (probably) had less opportunity for the manufacturers to keep charging for replacement components (like cats, which wear out and get damaged) So “everyone” decided that cats were the solution. Welcome to less emissions and about a 5% power drop. This is one of the reasons diesels are now much more efficient than petrols. Diesel is lean burn with no cat.
    Also the cat has to be close to the engine, to meet the warm up time required by legislation.That puts it so close that at high revs it will actually overheat. So, the ECU has to pump too much fuel through, some of it gets through unburnt and cools the cat by evaporation.It sounds crazy but I have it on good authority from a chap who is actually working putting the “performance” curves in ECUs.Some engines now have an option to allow fresh air in after the engine but before the exhaust.He had to stop someone who noticed that as you increase the fresh air intake, your CO2 emissions drop. It was effectively diluting the emissions, but, as you take more air in (which he wasn’t adding into his calculations, he was only looking at emission)  the emission/intake ratio doesn’t change all that much. There are other crazinesses that make decent designs for one set of circumstances be a complete bitch at the other end of the spectrum…

    • Lt. Col. w00t says:

      Wait, what?

      Lean burn wasn’t better. It barely worked. That is to say, it worked just fine, until it blew up the engine. Catalytic converters & O2 sensors took off because once their price stabilized it made economic sense. O2 sensor + Cat burned about 5% more fuel, but it didn’t blow up engines. They can make it work fairly reliably now, of course, but in the mid 70s?

  21. billstewart says:

    My 1985 Toyota Tercel wagon got 27mpg.   I’d have hoped that an equivalent-sized cheap car now would get 40mpg, given 25 years of technology improvement, but that doesn’t seem to be the case (and they’re not making many small wagons, either.) 

    And yes, it had a catalytic converter, so you can’t blame that.   Top speed was about 103mph, extrapolating from the performance of a similar rental car about which I can neither confirm nor deny having allegedly driven in the mid-late 80s.

  22. fnc says:

    I lay the current situation more at the feet of politicians (in other words, the average joe) than ‘evil’ businesses and suburban lifestyles. Keeping gas relatively cheap in America has meant Americans have been far more tolerant of gas guzzlers and disdainful toward mass transit than we should have been for a long time. Having to pass the CAFE standards so hated by the industry is the result of politicians knowing that increasing the gas tax to drive consumer demand toward more efficient vehicles is always political suicide. No matter that the money not spent on foreign sourced oil could then go into our own economy instead of fattening somebody else’s. So they pass the buck on to the auto industry to fix the problem. It’s really a roundabout way of saying, ‘if you’re looking for the villains check the mirror America’. At least it seems more and more people are waking up to the fact that ‘efficiency’ and ‘freedom’ are not mutually exclusive choices as it seems we’re so often told.

  23. I probably write this every time a post like this comes along, but my wife and I have been driving a Citroën C4 (it’s French) for about 3 years and around 30,000 miles to date.  No issues so far; we just take it in for service once a year.

    The C4, for those in north america, is about as wide as a Toyota Camry or Corolla but shorter than either at 170.5 inches versus 189 and 179 inches respectively.  The C4 is about an inch taller than either.  I’m 6’2″ and can sit in it quite comfortably though if there is a rear seat passenger I need to slide my seat up a bit and it’s not quite as comfy but is still quite reasonable – I’ve done a long, 5000 mile road trip like that.

    We bought ours with a 1.6 litre low-pressure turbo diesel engine that puts out around 110 HP and does 0-60 MPH in about 10.5 seconds.  Top speed is 115 MPH but it cruises just fine at 80 MPH – no excessive noise.  

    Ours is equipped, additionally, with a semi-automatic transmission and electronically-controlled clutch.  Of the manual, “regular automatic” and “semi-automatic” versions, the semi-auto is the most fuel efficient.  It’s advertised as getting a combined 52.3 MPG (US).  In reality we usually get around 45.5 MPG but we do a lot of driving in the city and lots of short trips.  Usually we get around 650-700 miles from a tank (13 gallons) with 50 or so miles of fuel remaining when we fill up.  We’ve done around 60 MPG and got nearly 800 miles from a tank in the past on a road trip.  It’s equipped with a diesel particular filter.  When it’s running there’s no visible exhaust.  We try to run around 10-20 percent biodiesel (up to 100% is available at the pumps here in Poland).

    The trunk is big enough for two full or normal-sized suitcases with a bit of room left over – it’s around 14 cubic feet versus the Camry’s 15.

    It’s pretty safe, too – EuroNCAP 5-star rated, ABS, traction control, stability control, EBD, etc, etc.  Six airbags I believe.

    We paid around 25k USD – that includes ~19% sales tax – and had it custom-made at the factory.  It included a 5 year warranty, fancy wheels, all-glass roof, alarm and anti-theft glass all-around, bluetooth a set of 17″ summer Michelin tires and a second set of Michelin winter/snow tires.

    You guys might want to look around and ask why it’s so damn hard to get a reasonable car for reasonable money that gets good fuel economy.

    • seyo says:

      maybe Mister44 can answer that for you. he’ll probably have some really smart answer about “the market” or some other such claptrap voodoo nonsense.

    • Mister44 says:

      Other than the gas mileage, it sounds similar to my Hyundai Elantra, only I paid even less and got most of the bells and whistles. And it is silver. The hatchback has a deceptively huge amount of space for cargo.

      Do they even sell Citroën in the US? IIRC, Fiat is poised to enter the US market again with their acquisition of Chrysler.

      When the SUV made $10-15K more profit per vehicle than a sedan, you can see the big
      reason they focused on them and were slow to change when the demand
      waned. Now that the US consumer is focusing on better gas millage, we should start to see the numbers increase. This is just like the 70s and the energy crisis, where suddenly compact cars were desirable, and Europe and Japan were already making them. Once again the US has to play catch-up. My grandpas 78 Datsun truck was a hell of a little trooper. I shouldn’t have sold it :o(

      As for why – evidently Citroën got left out in the cold with the deal the “oil overlords” and decided to make an efficient car to destroy them.

      • Citroën hasn’t sold anything in the US for quite awhile – 30 years, give or take a bit.  They might be available in Mexico and I know for sure that you can get ‘em in South America – there’s even a different, SA (or Brazil)-only model sold.

        The C4 comes in two versions, a three door and five door, both are considered hatchbacks.

  24. ackpht says:

    Per the article, the 52.5 mpg target actually works out to about 40 mpg “real world” driving (?) If that’s the case, then the gasoline-burning Honda Fit I bought four months ago is almost there already at 37 real-world mpg (and I could probably do better).

    The average mpg of cars in America is low because Americans buy cars that get low mpg. We buy cars that get low mpg because many of us really don’t give a rat’s ass about mileage.

    Want better mpg? Buy a new small car. It doesn’t have to be a hybrid, just new and small.

  25. dalesd says:

    As an unintended consequence, CAFE drove station wagons to extinction.  For those of you too young to remember, station wagons were the family vehicle of choice before SUVs.  (I did my time in the ‘way back’ of a ’76 Dodge Aspen wagon with faux wood paneling and an ’83 Buick Regal wagon.)

    To CAFE, station wagons are counted as cars, but SUVs are ‘light trucks’ with a different set of rules to play by.  Car makers had to curb production of wagons to meet CAFE.  SUVs became incredibly profitable because they were fulfilling an unmet need in the marketplace.

  26. stjarna says:

    There’s no reason why a station wagon should have poor gas mileage.  They’re still fairly popular as family cars in Europe – Here in the UK I drive a Ford Mondeo Estate (diesel), a large station wagon, which gives around 52mpg (imperial), which works out a little over 40mpUSg.  The Mondeo isn’t trying to be an economy car particularly.

    Perhaps the US just needs to embrace diesel and watch those CAFE figures shoot up.

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