According to a recent study by the International Council of Clean Transportation (ICCT), official and “real-world” fuel consumption and CO2 emissions for passenger vehicles had an average discrepancy of 25 percent in 2011.
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A report from the National Research Council states that the U.S. could reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 80 percent by 2050 in cars and trucks.
Despite government mandated fuel economy improvements, overall fuel consumption is on the rise across America according to a new report.
Consumer preferences are taking a clear step towards efficient gas consumption according to a new study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute.
March saw several manufacturers set new sales records, which in turn pushed the average fuel consumption of every car sold to a record high 24.1 miles per gallon.
Gas prices have been driving automakers, and more importantly consumers, to be increasingly concerned with how much a fill-up costs. In March, the average gas consumption of every car sold was 24.1 mpg, a small jump from the previous months 23.9 mpg, but a very significant difference from the October 2010 average of 20.1 mpg.
The push for higher mpg cars is a recent craze, illustrated by the fact that the average of 22 mpg did not change between October, 2009 and September, 2011. Only in the last eight months has the average has been steadily climbing, starting at 22.2 last September and now finding itself at 24.1.
While the trend towards increased fuel efficiency is on everyone’s mind, it will be interesting in the coming years to see just how far automakers will stretch engine technology to save at the pump.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel estimates are out for BMW‘s new line of 3-Series cars and it looks like they’ve caught the competition with their pants down.
The 2012 328i scores an impressive 24 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, that’s a 28 percent improvement in fuel consumption over last year’s model. What’s even better is that the 328i actually gets more power than the model it replaced for a total of 240 horsepower compared to last year’s 230. The 300-horsepower 335i doesn’t get a boost in oomph but as you may expect, is less thirsty in 2012. In fact, the automatic-equipped version is downright efficient, bragging 23 mpg city and 33 highway.
Though it might seem like it, these jumps don’t happen overnight, or by some magic gasoline fairy waving a wand. BMW achieved such impressive improvements in the 328i through cleverly engineered turbocharging and by lobbing a whole liter off of last year’s engine. That’s right, there’s a 2.0-liter inline four where there used to be a 3.0-liter six cylinder.
So what of the competition? The Mercedes-Benz C 250 has 39 fewer ponies than the 328i and only gets 21 and 31 mpg in the city and highway despite having a 1.8-liter engine. Audi‘s A4 uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged powerplant and also only gets 22 mpg city and 30 on the highway when equipped with their gas-saving continuously variable transmission, not to mention falling 29 horsepower short.
The jig is up for this model year, but it should be interesting to watch Audi and Mercedes-Benz respond to their Bavarian neighbor’s conservative consumption. Perhaps this is why BMW remains the top dog in the bratwurst pile.
The fuel wars are heating up as automakers search for new ways to squeeze more mileage out of their cars. While some might take this chance to preach doom and gloom for future cars, Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne isn’t ready to call the Road Warrior just yet.
Some companies are turning to electric vehicles, others to extended-range hybrids. Yet another school of thought is turning to diesel engines to meet mounting expectations for fuel consumption. In the face of what seems like a trembling industry, unsure of what the next revolution will be, Marchionne stands strong.
“I believe in our industry’s ability to find solutions. Even with traditional combustion engines, we have only skimmed the surface of the ability to squeeze out higher fuel efficiency levels, allowing us to extract much more power out of smaller displacements,” Marchionne said during an appearance at the Automotive News World Congress.
For the time being, he is determined that diesel engines will remain reserved for larger cars, like the Jeep Grand Cherokee (pictured above), which Chrysler will begin assembling in Detroit early next year. Diesel engines, despite their shrinking stigma, are still a minority consideration in the overall U.S. market. We really like some of the small car diesel variants to pop up recently. For example, Mazda will offer a diesel version of their Mazda6 sedan in 2013, as will Chevrolet with the Cruze.
Despite that, Marchionne is hanging onto the gasoline engine and hoping cars like their recently unveiled Dodge Dart will tackle the small car market and capture young consumer imaginations. Critics of his stubborn resolve might want to hold their opinions for now, considering the about face Marchionne championed since 2009, taking Chrysler from near-ruin to respectable territory.
“Fiat and Chrysler come from two different pasts, but they have something very strong in common,” said Marchionne. “Both have been to hell and back.”
GALLERY: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
Behold, the new bar for fuel economy: 126 highway miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe). Which car is championing these figures? The Mitsubishi i electric vehicle.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Fuel Economy Guide ranked the Mitsubishi i electric vehicle at the top for fuel consumption. The competing Nissan Leaf stacks up 13 MPGe lower at a still impressive 99 MPGe. The Mitsubishi i beats the Leaf in city and highway fuel economy, making it the most efficient car on the road.
Yoichi Yokozawa, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) said the company was pleased to be rated at the top of the EPA’s Fuel Economy guide.
“With 17,000 i-MiEV-based units produced for various international markets, we look forward to providing North American consumers with an exceptionally well-engineered electric vehicle that has proven itself to be reliable, safe, efficient and very affordable in overall price and cost of operation,” he said.
The Annual Fuel Guide, published in cooperation by the EPA and Department of Energy, offers consumers information far beyond what appears on a car’s window sticker. They also offer advice on how to improve fuel efficiency.
The Mitsubishi i isn’t available at the moment, but MMNA expects to start releasing them in North America late this month.
With the debut of the all new 2012 Toyota Camry yesterday (review here), Honda’s Accord soldiers on for another model year mostly unchanged save for the addition of a Special Edition (SE) trim level. All Accord models will also receive a USB audio interface for 2012.
The Honda Accord will also receive four engine variations , with the base 177-hp 2.4-liter i-VTEC engine in the LX,LX-P and SE sedans. Next is the 190-hp 2.4-liter 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC engine that’s standard in the EX and EX-L sedan. The top of the line 3.5-liter 24-valve SOHC, i-VTEC V6 engine produces 271-hp and is available in the EX and EX-L.
Transmission choices vary between engine and trim level choices. There is a 5-speed automatic transmission standard for all 4-cylinder and V6 models. A 6-speed manual transmission will be available exclusively for the Accord V6 Coupe. The 4-cylinder Accord with the 5-speed automatic transmission will rank as the most fuel efficient model, achieving 23 mpg city and 34 mpg highway for a combined 27 mpg rating.
Honda’s Satellite-Linked Navigation System is available on the EX-L model and has an 8-inch screen and an interface dial for user input. The 2012 Accord sedan also earned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s best-possible Overall Vehicle Score 1 of 5 stars.
Today, the Ford Transit Connect is targeted at taxi and delivery business where fuel efficiency is a top priority. Initially, the small van was rated for 21 mpg on the city and 26 mpg in the highway. For 2012 Transit Connectgets a 1 mpg bump in each category, for a ratings of 22 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. This is good news considering the the competition in this class with the new Nissan NV200 and the rumoured Fiat Doblo (which would be sold under the Ram brand). No other improvements are expected until the all-new Transit Connect arrives on the market sometime in 2014.
[Source: Ford Inside News]
The engineers from General Motors have miraculously managed to improve the Chevrolet Cruze’s fuel economy by an additional 2 mpg. The Chevy already has a Cruze Eco option that delivers 28 mpg city, 42 mpg highway when fitted with the six-speed manual transmission.
For the 2012 model, Chevrolet has bumped the highway mileage rating of the Cruze model with 1.4-liter engine and an automatic transmission to 38 mpg, a gain of 2 highway mpg over last year’s EPA ratings of 24 mpg city, 36 mpg highway for that same combination.
This 2 mpg increase was attained through lowering the final-drive ratio to 3.53 from 3.87 in the current year’s model. This allows the engine to run at a lower speed burning less fuel. The Cruze is capable of hitting 40-mpg on the highway however buyers will need to order the extra-cost Eco model for that.
[Source: Green Car Reports]
The Obama Administration is considering strict new fuel economy regulations that would make the 35.5-mpg 2016 CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards seem like an easy target to reach. The far-reaching new target would see a 62-mpg CAFE standard set in place for 2025. A preliminary proposal indicating as much was released late last week, as deliberations continue to reduce fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions by 3 percent to 6 percent a year from 2017 to 2025.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Transportation Department and the California Air Resources Board said that these targeted cuts in fuel use and emissions would require new fuel economy standards of between 47 mpg and 62 mpg by 2025.
The 245-page preliminary analysis states that “advanced technologies can be used to achieve substantial reductions in fuel consumption and (greenhouse gases).”
New fuel economy goals for 2012 to 2016 were presented earlier this year and this technical assessment is just step one in a long regulatory process to set targets leading up to the 2025 model year.
The second regulatory analysis is due by November 30, after regulators have held discussions with the auto industry, environmental groups and consumer advocates.
For their part, automakers seemed to applaud the news of a unified regulatory approach that includes a single plan by federal and state authorities. When the time comes, they will add their option to the preliminary targets under consideration, and the technologies and costs need to achieve the goals.
The report also outlines some of the costs needed to design and produce a 2025 vehicle under the stricter standards. The development costs for a 2025 vehicle would go up by between $770 and $3,500, depending on the targets and technologies incorporated, but consumers would typically save between $4,900 and $7,400 over the life of a vehicle in fuel savings.
Do you think automakers can build a car that gets 62-mpg and costs just $770 more? Will it also save you $7,400? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Source: Automotive News]
We all know that obesity has an adverse effect on our health, but did you know that is also has a detrimental effect on fuel economy and car safety? Those are the findings coming out of a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
General findings from this new report on obesity showed that there was a 1.1 percent increase (an additional 2.4 million people) in the self-reported prevalence of obesity between 2007 and 2009, and the number of states with an obesity rate over 30 percent has tripled to nine states (compare that to 2000, when there were no states that had an obesity rate of 30 percent). Not only does this become a concern for health, but also has repercussions when it comes to automobiles. The rise in obesity has forced these people, out of necessity, to buy larger vehicles, which increases gasoline consumption in the U.S. and fuel consumption increases with more weight in cars.
In 2006, a study done by Entrepreneur.com analyzed the amount of additional fuel consumed due to heavier drivers. They found that almost 1 billion gallons of gasoline per year can be attributed to passenger weight gain in non-commercial vehicles between 1960 and 2002. That comes out to .7 percent of the total fuel used by passenger vehicles annually. They also estimated that for every pound gained in average passenger weight, over 39 million gallons of fuel is used annually.
One the safety side of things, the obesity problem also increases the risk of crashes and injury is more prevalent due to the fact that obese drivers are less likely to buckle up because seat belts may not fit properly.
[Source: Consumer Reports]