Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Save the planet: fuel economy gauge

Here's an idea: mandate a fuel economy gauge next to the speedometer for all cars. The display on a gasoline car would show mpg, while the display on an electric car would show mi/kJ or some such. With fuel efficiency staring people in the face while they drive, they might be more keen to shut off an idling car and drive less aggressively! [DIY]

From Environmental Defense:

Check out our list of facts on cars and global warming.
Then, take action in support of national global warming action!

232 million - Number of registered vehicles in the U.S. That's almost one per person!

600 gallons - Average amount of gasoline consumed by one U.S. car each year.

12,000 pounds - Amount of carbon dioxide emitted from one U.S. car each year.

240 - Number of trees needed to absorb the 12,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emitted from one U.S. car each year.

2.7 trillion - Number of miles U.S. cars and light trucks traveled in 2004. That's the equivalent of taking 10 million trips to the moon.

5 - Percent U.S. population is of the world population.

30 - Percent of world's automobiles in the United States.

45 - Percent that the United States contributes to the world's automotive carbon dioxide emissions.

4 - Number of car companies that support a national cap on global warming emissions. They are Ford, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and Toyota.

0 - Number of bills passed by Congress to cut global warming pollution.

Tell Congress to do something about fuel economy.

3 comments:

Nick Burbules said...

Hey Jim,

Thanks for the link to Progressive Blog Digest!

I have added you to my blog list as well.

Nick Burbules

HornDozer said...

Hey Jim:

Thanks for blogging on fuel economy. It is a pet peeve of mine.

For the past several years, I have been looking for a pickup to outfit with an Alaskan camper, or a full-sized van that are fuel efficient. Their truly are
none.

Actually I wanted a small motor home--but their mpg is ridiculous. Regardless how small.

And it doesn't seem to improve much. Even though there have been some somewhat lame attempts in the SUV dept, not so in full size vans nor pickups.

Too bad.

That is not the way it has always been. In the 70s I owned a small Nissan pickup that got in the 20 mpgs on the hwy and 17 or so in town.

Really nothing like that today. Pickups just keep getting bigger and the Toyota Tacoma lists 21 in town, and 27 on the road. And it has grown to be almost as big as the (big deal--award winning--for what?--Toyota Tundra.

But the EPA quoted mpg id not true. It is EPA figures that are screwed upward. Probably bought and sold by Detroit. Consumer Reports (which I believe) lists 14 in town mpg and 17 hwy.

The gist is that I cannot find what I call a really economical pickup nor a full size van. And it is very aggravating to me. The auto industry just plods along with its stereotypes and its tunnel vision engineers (in the US at least) and gives precious little attention who want truly economy vehicles and are willing to forfeit big muscle van and pickup engines to get it.

My Nissan with its 4 cyl engine, and a cab-over camper, had a hard time in the Rockies on the up slope, but it would go lots of places and did not cost me an arm and a leg to get there.

Will these kinds of vehicles ever be offered again. Seems like they just keep getting bigger. :>(

Anonymous said...

I have a fuel economy gauge in my 2006 Dodge Ram 3500 diesel. I drive easy on the throttle, keep the engine RPM at 2000 or below, and get as many as 22 mpg on the highway and 14 in the city or when pulling a 10,000 pound horse trailer at 68mph on flat terrain.

Can't wait for the feds to outlaw my truck! :-)

I suppose we can all celebrate the day when a Geo Metro will pull 10,000+ pounds uphill at the speed limit and get 40mpg doing it. :-)

Fact of the matter is, I don't think we're going to change what folks drive as easily as we can change HOW they drive. I see a BIG improvement in fuel mileage by just going light on the throttle and keeping my speed down. Most half ton trucks would LOVE to see the mileage I get out of my one ton. They probably could, just by slowing down a little.

I think we have reached a point where diesel pickups have TOO MUCH power. I can go up the hills outside of Asheville on I-26 at any speed I choose with 10,000+ pounds of gooseneck horse trailer in tow. In my opinion, I could go up those same hills at the speed limit with much less power/torque than I have, and get much better mileage on the flats. Let's go back to no more than 225 horsepower and 500 ft-lbs, with 30mpg on the flats, unloaded, in 1-ton diesel pickups.