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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Frequently thought of as a boring alternative to an automatic transmission, usage of the the continuously-variable transmission (CVT) is expected to more than double by 2016.
It’s no secret that automakers and consumers alike are favoring forced induction engines to keep fuel economy and performance intact amid fuel prices that choke up on budgets more every year.
Think your car isn’t living up to the official MPG numbers? You’re not the only one, which is why a project is looking at creating a standard global mileage test.
Gasoline-powered cars are slowly starting to look like pirates plundering the world for fuel and slashing environmental throats as they go. Thanks to that, the fair maiden electric vehicles with zero-emissions claims and low-cost fueling can easily float in on the smog cloud looking squeaky-clean. But are they?
Ford recently announced the EPA fuel efficiency rating for its electric Focus model. Since it doesn’t burn any gasoline, the number isn’t in miles per gallon (MPG), but was given as miles per gallon gasoline equivalent, or MPGe. A new term to the automotive lexicon, it’s worth exploring exactly what MPGe means and how an MPGe rating is determined, especially as the number of electric cars and plug-in electric hybrids on the roads continues to increase.
Electric vehicles probably seem to have a tiny carbon footprint at the surface, but a recent study suggests environmental impact varies in gravity according to where the vehicle is charged.
Automakers tout EVs as zero-emission transportation but that doesn’t mean they don’t have an environmental impact. The issue is that charging creates green house gases, and those emissions aren’t necessarily constant. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, which uses the electric power requirements of the Nissan Leaf as a basis for comparison, there is a significant disparity in greenhouse gases released into the environment depending on the source of the electricity itself.
It seems we’re all becoming a little more fuel conscious these days and that includes the military. While in the past, heavy battle tanks and armored carriers that did eight gallons to the mile were deemed acceptable, that’s apparently no longer the case.
As the 21st century unfolds, even the military (which in 2008 consumed about 1.5 percent of all oil in the U.S.), is looking to more fuel efficient solutions when it comes to vehicle design and development.
Helping its cause will be a brand new, state-of-the-art Ground Systems Power and Energy laboratory complex in Warren, Mich. that will be operated by the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC). The opening of the labs creates some 150 new job positions, in addition to the 1,500 souls already employed by TARDEC, which primarily consist of engineers, researchers and scientists.
This week, Federal and Michigan State officials announced the grand opening of the new lab complex which covers some 30,000 square feet, something that many consider to be well timed. That’s especially true as military presence is scaled back in the Great Lake State with planned cuts at a number of facilities including the large Selfridge Air National Guard base located between Metro Detroit and Port Huron.
John Wray, a TARDEC spokesman, said hiring for the new lab positions will be incremental, while also mentioning that introducing more fuel efficient vehicles, including those with hybrid propulsion, can save lives. “For every one percent improvement in fuel efficiency, the need for 6,444 solider fuel trips is eliminated,” he said.
[Source: The Detroit News]
Maybe we just wanted an excuse to show a photo of model Adriana Lima with a Kia, but the Korean automaker along with its bigger brother Hyundai have both just been rated as the EPA’s most efficient and cleanest automakers.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently published their annual Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Fuel Economy Trends report with Hyundai and Kia tied in first place with a lineup average of 27-mpg in terms of fuel economy. As far as CO2 emissions, Hyundai was top of the list at 329 grams per mile, while Kia was a close second at 330 grams per mile.
This surprisingly makes the Korean automakers the greenest car companies in the United States with Toyota in second place for fuel economy at 25.4-mpg and Honda in third at 24.9-mpg. Toyota netted third place for CO2 emissions at 350 grams per mile.
“The 2011 EPA data demonstrates Hyundai’s commitment to fuel economy leadership and validates the effectiveness of our Blue Drive strategy,” said John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO. “Through innovations such as light-weight steel, direct injection technology, turbocharging and advanced transmissions we are able to improve the efficiency and performance of all our vehicles.”
The mentioned results reflect the 2010 model year data, which also had the best average gas mileage for new cars (22-mpg) and average rate of CO2 emission (394 grams per mile) ever recorded in the EPA’s database. Hyundai and Kia are also favored to take the top spots in a preliminary report on 2011 model year vehicles.
5. Nissan Frontier 4.0 2WD: 17 mpg
Trucks aren’t known for fuel economy, but finding a pickup that isn’t a gas hungry beast is a top concern for many truck shoppers. So if you’re looking for a good way to save money, both in terms of overall vehicle cost and especially at the pumps, check out this list of our Top 10 fuel friendly pickups.
The six cylinder Nissan Frontier can achieve a solid 17 mpg when packaged up with the either transmission, or drive-train. That’s right, it doesn’t matter which model of the 4.0 Frontier you choose, you’re looking at exactly the same EPA numbers: 16 mpg city, and 20 mpg highway. That V6 gets 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. The V6 Frontier starts at $22,620 and while it’s not the most fuel efficient, most powerful, or cheapest car on this list, it does offer a nice balance of the three.
An interesting study has just been released by the University of Michigan which compared the average fuel efficiency of vehicles made in 2012 compared to those manufactured in 2008.
According to the report, there has been a 2.8-mpg improvement for cars (including station wagons) and a 1.6-mpg for light trucks (including pickups, minivans, vans, and SUVs) over the four year span.
Across all 12 vehicle-size classes that the University of Michigan studied, station wagons showed the biggest improvement, bringing in an impressive 4.1-mpg improvement. Compact cars came in second with a 3.8-mpg improvement while full-size vans only saw 0.2-mpg change and small pickup trucks were only improved by 0.4-mpg.
They even went so far as to compare vehicles with automatic transmissions, showing a 2.5-mpg improvement over the years, while manual transmission-equipped vehicles saw 2.8-mpg. Four-cylinder engines chimed in with a 2.3-mpg change while six-cylinders still saw a respectable 1.4-mpg. Front-wheel drive vehicles saw a 3.4-mpg improvement and four- or all-wheel drive vehicles went for 2-mpg.
The biggest improvement were for diesel models, with an impressive 9.8-mpg jump while conventional gas engines have improved just 2.6-mpg overall. Even though it probably sounds strange that hybrids dropped 3-mpg, it’s clear that four years ago the hybrid market wasn’t oversaturated with variants from big-bodied makes and models like a Porsche Cayenne. Even though the Cayenne S Hybrid is an improvement over the standard Cayenne fuel efficiency, it is nothing compared to the fuel efficiency of the Toyota Prius. The Prius probably helped skew the statistic four years ago, due to the lack of vehicles in the test group compared to today.
Current average fuel economy of cars is reported to be 23.4-mpg and 18.6-mpg for light trucks.
Buick has launched an app for iOS and Android smartphones to help raise MPG awareness. A trio of eAssist Fuel Efficiency smartphone games are packaged into a single app that’s now available to download for free and offers a fun way to hone your driving techniques in order to maximize fuel economy.
The three games are titled “Regeneration Road”, “Roll and Boost”, and “Wind Tunnel Tester.” Regeneration Road focuses on the regenerative braking featured found on Buick eAssist vehicles which helps capture and store energy when a vehicle is braking in order to recharge the lithium-ion battery. Players must make it through the town without running out of fuel while avoiding pedestrians along the way.
The second game, Roll and Boost, has a focus of distance and not speed with battery management being the main priority. By using the energy stored from braking strategically, an emissions-free boost of acceleration can be had and using that energy at optimal times is key to Roll and Boost.
Lastly, Wind Tunnel Tester allows players to put on their automotive engineering hat. Sit there and tweak the vehicle’s length and width on the screen, understanding how the sleek and modern shapes of Buick vehicles help maximize aerodynamics and ultimately fuel efficiency.
eAssist can be found on the Buick LaCrosse and Regal models and aids the performance of a fuel-efficient 2.4L gas engine to achieve 36-mpg. eAssist also allows the gas engine to turn off completely while the car is sitting idle.
“The driving force behind eAssist’s development was to make great vehicles like the LaCrosse and Regal even better,” said Dan Cottrell, General Motors assistant chief engineer for the eAssist powertrain. “With eAssist we can improve both vehicle performance as well as fuel economy.”