Thursday, May 21, 2009

How to gain 3 mpg in your CAFE

Seems like CAFE isn't just the average fuel economy. Make "flex fuel" vehicles and it bumps up your CAFE by 3 mpg. This was in yesterday's Journal, back page somewhere. The US CAFE is not 25 mpg, its more like 22, but credit for the "flex fuel" vehicles pulls it up to 25.
It's super easy to make a flex fuel (alcohol burner) vehicle. Just make sure the elastomers in the fuel system (gaskets, seals, flex tubing and such) can withstand alcohol as well as gasoline. Most such things are OK, as is. You just need engineering to go over the specs of this kind of stuff and add "Shall withstand immersion in 85% alcohol for 10 years". Alcohol resistant elastomers are available and cost about the same as whatever they use now. It's just a matter of telling purchasing to buy the alcohol resistant type. And programming the fuel injection microprocessor to do the right thing, it has to squirt in a good deal more alcohol than gasoline, all things being equal.
Gee, maybe we could make the same kind of "allowance" for hybrids. Each hybrid sold lets you sell a 15 mpg SUV...

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