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US vehicle efficiency hardly changed since Model T.

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posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 08:21 PM

The average fuel efficiency of the US vehicle fleet has risen by just 3 miles per gallon since the days of the Ford Model T, and has barely shifted at all since 1991.

Those are the conclusions reached by Michael Sivak and Omer Tsimhoni at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor. They analysed the fuel efficiency of the entire US vehicle fleet of cars, motorcycles, trucks and buses from 1923 to 2006.

They found that from 1923 to 1935 fuel efficiency hovered around 14 mpg (5.95 km/l), but then fell gradually to a nadir of only 11.9 mpg (5.08 km/l) in 1973. By 1991, however, the efficiency of the total fleet had risen by 42 per cent on 1973 levels to 16.9 mpg (7.18 km/l), a compound annual rate of 2 per cent.

New Scientist Article.

I personally find this completely insane, not only because of the environmental issues created by vehicles but because it shows a total lack of improvement and development of an industry and product that is so important to all of our lives.

I can't think of a product that has not improved or changed vastly since its mainstream introduction... Radio, TV, computers have all evolved in to what we use today, compare them to what was being used at their introduction and sure the methods might remain the same but the efficiency and energy consumption alone has evolved beyond anything thought possible.

Maybe this is one of the reasons why the US car industry is failing at the moment. It seems most other nations car production has turned its focus on its fuel efficiency and environmental effects.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 08:57 PM
I love learning about auto mechanics and have done lots of myself self taught with books
Regardfless, im more of an oil n filter changer, tune up at most. Tools are expensive!!! I have talked with others about this same very thread you started...thanks man! Now they will belive me.People at owrk, ive met ect over the past years.
The sad thing dosnt take a genious to figure all this out.Our internal combustion engines, run on spark plugs. And they often DO foul and carbon up quickly, usualy within 2 years or 30,000 miles whichever comes first. WHy? BEcause the greatest wear on yuor engine, happens at startup. It takes oil, at least 8 miles to get to running operating temperature. OR letting it idle for 20 minutes. That, cuases carbon buildup, whcih can be cleanied without any mechanics help or $$$.You can do it yuorself. Get a 24 oz spray bottle of distilled water, boil it. PUt it into a 24 oz spray bottle and spray it gently, over 20 miinutes, into the PCV valve or through the throttle body. change plugsd out. Thier has been many claimings of 32 MPH and up. HEAT and carbon is yuor cars enemy, and the car dealers know this. Uneducated americans simply toss thier car out like a disposable appliance,a nd buy a new one, on plastic aluminum toys.
Now, the only real update that has ever happened on a car modern day, is their intake system. The flow of air thorugh the engine. The japanese have it donw pretty good, hence forth 34 MPG . but that apperas to be its limit. The longer you sit in trafic, stop n go driving the more fuel YOU ARE burning when the prices go up again, find alternative routes. cars were meant to be running all the time, BAcked up traffic does not let a car do what it wa really designed for. american care makers have the worst intakes. Thats what keeps the customer coming back..usualy to the Steeler(aka Dealer).
Bush has talked about the hydrogen car, obama killed it. Never really got off the ground anywyas. The electric car, bush killed that too. SO the docuymentayr 'who killed the electric car'. I really dont think its on governments interests to replace the internal combustion engine. TOO much money to be made and lost on it. Persoanlly this talk about global warming, since the fed seems to belive it, they really dont caree about it. Their just trying to scare us and profit off of us.
Awesome flag man!!!

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 09:00 PM
My biggest or less,.,woudl be lets say obama gets electric cars going. Carbon tax is 'activated'....wede still be in the same damn boat were in now...high prices on a form of fuel. more classic or muscle cars to awe and oo over; (
just imported cheap plastic, NOT american made.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 09:16 PM
Regarding the air intake systems. Paper air filters. They work the best..but heres the thing. The more loaded up they become with dirt in the air, the more your mileage WILL decrease. But they work much more efficient when loaded. The do have those K&N cotton air fitlers, which sacrifice dirt capturing for more airflow. I had one..its ok but preffer the paper ones. so reguarl paper air fitler replacement( if the white filter looks black its time to change) is about as good as it gets their too many factors with modern day engines and driving habbits that affect fuel consumption.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 09:29 PM
While the claim of unchanged fuel efficiency is true, examine the trade offs.

How many people want to go back to driving a car with no air conditioning or heating? What about a starter, battery and alternator? Electric locks and windows? Power steering and brakes? Smoother riding tires and suspensions? Multiple passengers? How about 70 mph highway speeds?

Throw in all of the government required smog control equipment and safety standards and it's a wonder we get the MPG we do!

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 09:31 PM
reply to post by WTFover

Your right....all of those features came out in the 30's.....and many others that would suprise you.

I'm not impressed at all with where our cars are today.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 09:55 PM
My 1980 Honda Civic got 40 mpg. Pollution control wreaks havoc on fuel consumption.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 10:00 PM
Hondas have always gotten the most highest MPG per any vehicle. Toyotas 2nd. Ive always wanted a honda...: ( personally i have a 1995 plymouth neon. its rated between 33/34 mpg..and take very ggood care of it. Yeahs its somewhat a lemon...but its engine is REALLY tough and are known for surviving timing belt breaks! And many with smae car as me, have reoprted syaing thier transsmisiions, automatics lasted well over 275,000 miles with regualr fluid maintenance. By comparison...look at FORD and GM..thier transmission have been known to fail at 75,000 miles. Keeps th customer coming back..and at least with GM/chevy, it was all 9over a $5 plastic seal in the trasnmission..they cheaped out over standard rubber. is that sick or what!

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 10:04 PM
Change those spark plugs every 2 years, yearly if you like, or at 30,000 whichever comes first. change your oil and fitler every 3 months or at 3,000 miles..flush and change coolant once a year, new thermostat, change out yuor tranny flid every 2 years or 30,000 miles sever driving(stop n go, pulling towing, taxiing), and yuor investment, yor car, for what yuo have will last a long long long time...IF yuor happy with it that is

oh! dont forget the air filter! that is literally yuor engines first line fo defense. 2nd is the oil. oil keeps contaminents in thats why i still favor 3 months. short trips, weather humdity, startup stop n go driving all in fact take their toll on oil, it breaks it down quickly.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 10:14 PM
The bottom line is...just because it says 34 mgp, 40 mpg ect dosnt mean you will have that all the time. sitting in traffic and other factors reduce mileage. You win some, loose most. even with what their using on Brazil, E85 gas.i think its soy or hemp.they got a few more mpg. Ethanol sucks as it reduces mileage. it lowers the octane of gas.
HEres a wwebsite i like.... ANYTHING you ever wanted to know learn ect about anyting oil to gas to additives and on and on is their. its a free forum and open to debate

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 10:23 PM
This is..............old news!
Very..... unfotunately.

Still a very good point and chance to stop and rethink.


posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 05:09 PM

Originally posted by GEORGETHEGREEK
This is..............old news!
Very..... unfotunately.
Still a very good point and chance to stop and rethink.

I guess when you think about it your right, it is old news. Seeing it in black and white with statistics included kind of brings it home to just how crazy the fact is.

Thanks for S+F btw.

posted on Aug, 6 2009 @ 02:56 PM
Henry Ford took out the Tesla ignition coil as too powerful.
Thus efficiency has gone down even since.
Gov Brown of California patented the catalytic converter and had
a law passed that made its use mandatory.
Soon every state passed the same law.
This lowers engine efficiency and causes CO2 to fill the air instead
of burning the CO for more efficiency and power.
The Sherman tank had an efficient carburetor that was taken off
at the end of the war and sent to Standard Oil of New Jersey for
Another quirky oil company patent allowed dilution of gas so that
vapor carborators became useless.
There is a suspected use of watering down gas with water actually
with additives such the one operator put more water in damaging
cars on the NJ Turnpike not realizing he got the standard gas already
watered down and there is little more to go.
All conspiracy theories I know nothing about, just stories.

posted on Aug, 6 2009 @ 03:48 PM
His claim of unchanged fuel efficiency is BS.
cars have got a lot more efficient.

Its the other vehicles that did not exsist in 1923 to 1935 that change the figures.

In 1923 to 1935 you did not have 18 wheelers that hauled 20 ton loads across the US.
Most goods were hauled by train.

This is one of those studies that you have to read carefully or you will get the wrong idea of what the problem is.

Its not the fuel efficiency of cars but its that we use a lot bigger trucks hauling a lot more stuff then in 1923 to 1935.

When talking trucks you have to go by tons per MPG.
and we still; are a lot more efficient.

posted on Aug, 7 2009 @ 02:54 AM
Ok, now flame me and accuse me of being paid by Big Oil, but...

In my opinion the US (or any other country, China and India included) can burn all the petrol it wants, as long as it's done cleanly (this is where combustion efficiency comes into factor). The byproducts of a hypothetically 100% clean/efficient hydrocarbon combustion are only CO2 and H2O. By burning oil we (globally) are merely returning back all the carbon where it originally belonged a few millions years ago: in the atmosphere.

In past geologic periods the global average mean temperature was much higher than today levels, the CO2 concentration was also many times higher and there were no polar ice caps, yet life was abundant. Plants actually benefited from these conditions (by the way, did you know that at a CO2 concentration of under 150 ppm, plant growth stops?).

What I'm about to say is politically very incorrect and many will strongly disagree, but in my view, adding heat (even though I don't think the so called global warming is 100% anthropogenically caused) and CO2 to the atmosphere at this time will actually be beneficial for life on earth.

posted on Aug, 7 2009 @ 03:29 AM
reply to post by Shirakawa

I totally understand what your saying, to a degree i would say i agree with you, its logical. I think what the issue is, from my perspective anyway, is that we are by burning so much oil and creating the by-products impacting the natural cycles of the planet. We are interfering with a system that has proven its self able to cope with change at the pace it naturally takes.

Temperature, amount of c02, amount of hydrogen and the speed at which they are released and absorbed has been controlled by nature on a huge time scale. So through whatever changes happened globally there was always an outcome that fitted the change and coped with it. What we are doing though in a matter of 200 years is pushing the ecosystems and natural coping methods to the breaking point.

Nature will supply reactions to the changes it makes on its own time scale perfectly, it stands a good chance if we continue to impact the cycle of things the way we are it will snap. I think if we continued to burn as much fuel as we do, apart from running out we would be fine, if that is we hadn't cut down so much of the rain forests and over pushed all of our resources.

No matter what the planet will get back on its feet and restore its control, with or without us, but that could take a huge amount of time. I think the problem is the changes that we will create, they will be to quick and be to extreme leaving us without a solution. I think we are only looking at the short term, if we want to survive long term the odds are now stacked against us.

posted on Aug, 7 2009 @ 03:35 AM
I have to completely agree with the 2 posts above me by ANNED and Shirakawa. You guys were beat me to it!

It's important, when looking at studies like this to not just look at the number, but what that number is telling you.

If the study was performed solely on your standard 4 door sedans, which perform the same duty as the old Model T, then you'd find we are far, far more efficient (but could still be a fair bit better).

But when you add in heavy moving vehicles and people movers, it's going to skew the numbers.

And as Shirakawa said. CO2 is NOT a pollutant, but a neccessary element for ALL life on Earth. I'm not saying we as a race are not polluting or wreaking havoc on our natural eco systems. Just that politicians and profiteering fear mongerers have got everyone worked up about CO2 when their are far, far bigger problems which face humanity. (Such as heavy metal poisoning of waterways and marine life, chemicals in drinking supplies, deforestation etc.).
The sooner people realise this, the sooner the maddness will stop.

posted on Aug, 7 2009 @ 05:49 AM
reply to post by Curious and Concerned

Yeah you are right, the whole anti C02 thing is just a cash in by big business and government. Most people don't even know what C02 stands for if you ask them, never mind what it does, all they know is its bad...

Lets face it if TPTB cared that much about the environment they could change things overnight, doing that would lose to much cash for them though. Now money is coming in both ways from oil and from the new environmental awareness craze, profit over progress once again.

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