click and clack, the tappet bros. on the issue of fuel economy

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I read their column about a month ago, and in it, someone had asked why fuel economy hasn't gone up too much over the past 20 years. Tom and Ray said that it was because automakers have focused more on
horsepower/performance than MPG's. I forget exactly how they put it. An example they used was the Honda Accord. A mid 80's Accord made about 80- 90 HP and got about 30MPG. Today's Accord gets about 35MPG but puts out 160HP, double what it put our 20 years before. And Tom and Ray pointed out that most people don't need 160HP in their car, and that most people only use about half that power. They also said that most people would probably prefer a 2006 Accord that puts out 100HP and gets 50-60mpg rather than a 160HP car getting 35 mpg. I know I would. So in effect, instead of engineering/tuning cars for MPG's, they've instead been tuned for maximum HP/performance.
Why can't automakers develop 2 lines of engines? Super efficient 80- 100hp units to go into the Taurus, Accord, Camry, Malibu, etc. and cause the cars to be able to get 50-60mpg. And then a line of perforamce engines for these cars that put out 160hp and get 30mpg. Now, if you look at cars, there isn't much difference in the performance between the base 4 bangers and the optional V6 engines. The V6 will put out maybe 20-30HP more in power, and MPG's are usually about the same in the inline 4 and the V6.
I, for one, would rather cut my gas bill in half and have a 90hp engine than have a 160hp engine.
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Interesting concept, but I don't think it will sell until gas hits $5 a gallon.
Sure, the latest round of prices put a small dent into Hummer and Navigator sales, but the mid range cars are still selling and we still like to stomp on the gas to get on the expressway. I just bought a new car. Did I downsize to get better mileage? No. Within a few miles per gallon, it was not even a consideration as to what I should buy.
I'd like to see what percentages of 4 and 6 cylinder engines sell in the cars that offer both. Altima seems to be moving a fair amount of the 2.5 liter but my guess is that initial price of the vehicle is more of a consideration than horsepower. The difference is about $3000. Same with the Lucerne when I was considering them. The added $3k was more of a deterrent than the 2 mpg difference. Having driven the V8, I'd have gone that way if the initial price difference was much less.
I do know of one person that now drive 5 mph slower to get better mileage from his F150 pickup though. He is the only one that does from what I can see.
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Yeah, that's what I'm saying. The difference in mpg is so negligable that it makes sense to buy the bigger car. Most every car is putting out like about 180HP and getting 25-35 mpg. If they were engineered/tuned differently, I bet a 80hp 60mpg car is very possible.
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You have to remember that engineers and marketers have thought of all of these things long before this discussion. If it were that easy to get 60 to 80 mpg out of cars and still maintain any degree of usefulness, those cars would be in production. There are enough people like you who would trade every other aspect of a car in favor of mileage, to make it worth the product line.
Do you think there's a reason that those cars don't exist? Think about the trade-off's in such things as minimum horsepower requirements to be usefull as more than just a vehicle to run city blocks. Think about the need for vehicles to actually be able to maintain legal and safe speeds over hills - long hills like we find commonly in the US and which are not so uncommon in other parts of the world. Think about durability. Think about comfort. Not luxury - simple comfort. Think about safety. Crush zones and integral roll cage type construction is not the complete answer. Nor are offset front end crash tests. They only reveal part of the story.
I'm not even sure that 60-80 mph is really obtainable in practical terms, and I really don't think it is in consideration of all other facets of an automobile.
--

-Mike-
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Just like 100 mpg carbs, there are still people out there that believe in fairies...

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No fairies involved. I think mpg's haven't really gone too much up because automakers have instead focused on wringing out extra horsepower. They've improved gas mileage on huge vehicles. Modern Chevy Suburbans/Tahoes get around 25mpg highway as opposed to like 10mpg 20 years ago. I can see continually improving the performance of performance cars like Mustangs, Vettes, 350zx, etc., but it'd be cool to offer a 60-70mpg regular car.
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Totally illogical. Can get double the HP from same or equivalent engine over two decades, remain within increased EPA pollutant standards. Yet, cannot increase mpg without increasing HP dramatically. In fact, don't increase mpg over two decades. Nope. Total crap. A token 30+ mpg as fantastic in new vehicles, not. Consider selling used cars to little old ladies.
Consider mass/weight vs. hp vs. mpg formula. The only thing that has really increased is hp and vehicle weight. Hp in an given engine size is directly proportional to higher mpg in a smaller engine moving the same mass/weight.
Vehicles getting 30+ mpg two decades ago could go 90-100 mph on the highway. Don't remember any of them being GM though. These vehicles approximated 2000 pounds in weight. The current makers of these vehicles are dragging their feet as well for better mpg. Their vehicle weight more/more mass. Most vehicles today exceed well over 2000 pounds. Whose fault is that Mr. SUV, or "safe" vehicle? You got what the market determined you wanted. And they were probably right. So, look in the mirror for fault Mr. SUV safe vehicle.
--
Jonny



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Even a small one passenger motorcycle, that is barely capable of 65 MPH, can not attain much more than 50 MPG
mike hunt

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mpg . And that's around town , it gets better mileage on the highway , again , if driven sanely . BTW , this bike , in stock form , is capable of speeds in excess of 100 mph ...
--

Snag aka OSG #1
'76 FLH "Bag Lady"
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Also, don't forget the moped craze of the late '70's/early '80's that arised after the gas shortages/scares of the 1970's. These things got 120mpg and could do 35mph and this was using 1970's technology. They only cost $250-$300 brand new down at the Honda/Yamaha/Suzuki dealership. I lived in a semi-small city in a decent climate area back in the late '70's. Tons of people drove mopeds around town back then. And before I get flamed, yes, obviously, I realize they're not practical for highway travel. But for short trips around town to work or school, etc., they're great. Outside the local diners/cafes, there'd be 2 or 3 mopeds out front belonging to the old men who were inside drinking coffee and perhaps one owned by the waitress. Ir ecently bought a Suzuki FA50 Shuttle for $80 from a barn that looks this this one:
http://www.mopedarmy.com/photos/brand/44/2893 /
After a carb rebuild and some fuel line cleaning, it runs great. I scoot around town on it. As I was loading it into the back of the minivan, my wife was pissed, of course. "Why are you spending money on junk!" Then I explained the mpg advantage and plus it's just fun to ride! At least I didn't drop $13000 on a Harley!
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grappletech wrote:

Yeah, wives are like that. Several men at work ride motor bikes to work. A co-worker buys a new BMW every time they come out with a new one. Another friend got a ticket a few weeks ago for doing 140 in West Texas... cost him $300+. I rode a newer BMW. Gets 40 mpg and 0-90 mph in less than 5 seconds. Talk about exhilarating! Yes, a decent bike may be the way to go! Except in the summer... Burning hot sun and pavement is a real problem. And many bikes overheat if not moving.
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Sure one can get higher mileage on a bike than a car and yes one can get a bike to go very fast, but you will not get that higher mileage going fast. One can not change the laws of physics.
mike hunt
" Paul " <"=?x-user-defined?Q??= Paul

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reliable . And my daily transportation . But I only get between 35 and 42 mpg ... And new Big Twin Harleys are a bit more than 13k , unless you get the bottom of the line Dyna .
--

Snag aka OSG #1
'76 FLH "Bag Lady"
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My brother-in-law bought a Dyna about 5 years ago. A purple one! ick.......then his wife, my sister, wanted one, so they got her a Sportster 1200 Custom 2 years ago. A friend of mine bought a mid 90's Sporster 883 for $3800. It had only 2000 miles on it. The original owner bought it brand new and basically hardly ever drove it but did keep fresh gas in it and changed the oil regulary and rode it occasioanlly. I'd like to pick up a Sportster 883. I like them. My wife refuses to ride on a motorcycle, so I don't have to worry about hauling around a passenger. Plus, I'm kinda short -- 5'8". I've owned several bikes over the years. My first 2 bikes were hand me downs from my uncle -- a Honda 70, then a Suzuki 125 dual purpose, then I bought a mid 70's Honda CB500, then I had a Honda Trail 90. Then I bought this Suzuki FA50 Shuttle, cool, cool moped. Now, time for a Sportster!
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Snag wrote:

Get a REAL bike.... ;-)
My 1200 Venture will turn in 45-50 mpg. That is a full dress touring bike with the ability to turn well over 100mph VERY WELL OVER....
Now if you want to look at a mileage car it's real simple. Buy some little tiny car like a Geo or something. Just don't EVER get into an accident with it....
--
Steve W.

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a Harley , 1976 FLH to be precise . Full dress bagger (all original !) that gets around 35-42 mpg , depending on how hard I ride it . And MUCH more comfy on the long rides than momma's Red Rocket . It will do over 100 , but I won't ... unless I'm on the CB750 or the Kaw .
--

Snag aka OSG #1
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Everybody points to what they get in ideal conditions on the highway, like what my one grandson says about his Civic. If he drives on the interstates at 55 MPH he gets close to the EPA highway mileage figure. However the EPA mileage is around 10 MPG higher than what he actually gets with his normal driving...
I own a 1972 Honda CL70, purchased new. Top speed around 65 MPH, best mileage per tank full is around 45, if not driven above 45 MPH. My Fat Boy will get close to that with two up, on a flat road, if I'm lucky ;)
mike hunt

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Snag wrote:

Missed it Snag, But it is a Hardly after all.... ;-)
I had a chance to buy a Harley a couple weeks ago, Just couldn't get comfortable in the saddle. Plus I LOVE the way my Venture handles. Since mine now has a full out VMax engine now it is even more fun.
--
Steve W.

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likes , we both be happy ! Really , it's a matter of personal preference . I fell in love with this bike the first time I saw it . Almost passed it up cuz of the hand shift , but ... at heart , I'm a bit of a poser , couldn't pass it up . And I "work very hard" <snerk> at keeping the old girl in top form . Most people do a doubletake when I say the bike is 30 years old ... And the motah ain't stock ... KB pistons , S&S heads , Andrews cam , SE carb w/K&N , etc . Won't hang with your VMax , but has enough hp to get out of it's own way (heh,heh) .
--

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Snag wrote:

Not a problem. Ever read any of Daniel Meyers books. He REALLY rides... http://lifeisaroad.com /
I'm a novice compared to him. But have done a few Iron Butt rides, Did an Alaska run and a loop through the states. The poor Venture is currently torn down for a bit of preventative work, and maybe some new paint...
--
Steve W.

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