Showing posts with label CAFE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CAFE. Show all posts

Sunday, March 19, 2017

54.5 MPG. No way

That was Obambi's fuel economy regulation.  Trouble is, nobody will buy the resulting automobile.  Heck you cannot get 54.5 MPG out of motorcycle, let alone any sort of decent car.  Gasoline engine technology was well understood by the 1950's.  We had cars that could do 20 mpg back then.  Fifty years later the average car is not doing much better, maybe 24 mpg.  No way will the technology get to 54.5 mpg for anything more than a motorcycle. 
  Especially as the Environmental Pollution Agency limits what they call "NOx" emissions.   Air is 20% oxygen and 80% nitrogen.  Heat air hot enough, say in an engine combustion chamber, and the oxygen and nitrogen go together forming various nitrogen oxides, nitrates,  NO, NO2, N2O4, and a bunch more.  Old style LA smog formed when the nitrates mixed with oily vapors and sunlight formed that yellow cloud we used to see over city skies.  So, rather than clamp down on oily vapors from leaked fuel, the EPA decided to clamp down on NOx emissions.  The only way you do that is lower the combustion temperate in the engine cylinders.  Which ruins fuel economy and power.  Car engines are heat engines, the hotter you can run them, the better they perform.  If we dropped the NOx limit we would get a 10% maybe 20% performance improvement right then and there. 
   Or we could convert to battery powered cars.  Trouble is, the best battery powered cars can barely get you to work and back.   And they cost twice what a real car costs.  No way could a battery car get you to a ski resort for a weekend, or even to grandmother's house unless grandmother lives right next door.  The battery is the most expensive part of a battery car.  Nobody dares say what battery life might be, but battery replacement is so expensive that you might as well scrap the whole car and buy another one, new.   Plain old lead acid car batteries only last 4 winters.  How long will your Tesla battery last? 
   So, Trump is telling Detroit that he is going to "review" (drop) the 54.5 MPG regulation which allows Detroit to keep making cars that people will buy.  Good oh.  Right on Donald.
   Market pressure is there to get fuel economy up and keep it up,  all things being equal, customers will buy the car with better fuel mileage and everyone in Detroit knows it.
   And, don't fault people for buying SUV's  You need an SUV to get Mom, Dad, the kids, and the luggage onboard.  The little econo-boxes are horrible on a long trip with kids.  Trust me on this.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Cars, Cars, and more cars

NPR this morning said that 17.5 million new cars had been sold in 2015.  Damn, that's a lotta wheels.  There was a time, back in the 60s, when a 5 million car year was considered good.  And consider that a car easily lasts 10 years these days.  Keep up a 17.5 million a year sales rate for 10 years, and you have 175 million cars on the road.  For a population of 300 and some million.  That's a car for every two citizens. 
   Then the NPR greenies went on to wail about the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE).  The sales figure are "cars and light trucks" and light trucks are selling well.  The light trucks (SUVs count as light trucks), get about 20 mpg at best, the little econobox cars might get 35.  Obama wants 50 mpg in a few years.  I got news for him.  We won't ever have a 50 mpg CAFE except by lying.  We do some of that already, flex fuel (gasoline or alcohol) cars give the CAFE a big boost just by bureaucratic fiat. 
   Was I Detroit, I'd make all my production "flex fuel" because it's easy and cheap to do, and I get all sorts of CAFE improvement for every flex fuel vehicle produced.  Just a little attention to gasket materials in the fuel system, using only gaskets that are alcohol proof, a bit more code in the microprocessor to recognize the fuel and for alcohol program the injectors to throw in a good deal more than for gasoline, and presto chango, I have a flex fuel vehicle.  Good for a 20 mph bump in my CAFE. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Big Enchilada, jobs, jobs, and more jobs.

And everyone likes this one.  Turn the economy around, get hiring people, have jobs for everyone, enough jobs that workers can quit companies they don't like and be able to find another job.  That will bring wages up. 
   But to win the election, the GOP has to spell out HOW it is going to achieve this nirvana.  Voters want specifics.  Such as:
1.  Start the Keystone XL pipeline.  It will get crude oil shipments off the rails and into a pipe.  It brings oil in from one of our closest allies.  It will lower the price of gasoline and furnace oil.  It will allow US export of fuels to our friends around the world.
2. Repeal Sarbanes Oxley.  This 1000 page law is welfare for lawyers, an intolerable burden on companies, and has driven merger and acquisition business out of New York.  Getting rid of Sarbanes Oxley will make it easier to run a business, and business is what employs people. 
3.  Repeal Dodd Frank.  Another 1000 page law, welfare for lawyers.  Dodd Frank sets up ways for taxpayers to bail out firms "too big to fail".  Replace Dodd Frank with some anti trust action, any company too big to fail is clearly a trust, and needs to be busted.  Dodd Frank tells Wall St speculators that they can take any sort of risk, when things go bad Uncle will bail you out. 
4.  Reform corporate income tax.  For instance, money earned overseas should not be subject to US income tax.  Companies that make money overseas should be free to bring the money back to the US and spend it.  Right now Uncle takes 35% of every dollar brought home from overseas.  At this rate, it makes sense to leave the money in overseas banks earning a couple a percent rather than investing it back here at home.  And, that 35% corporate tax rate is the highest in the industrial world.  No wonder companies are sending jobs overseas, the taxes are lower. 
 5.  Reform the US patent system.  Right now no one can bring any new product to market without some patent troll suing for patent infringement as soon as the product makes a little money.  Look are the $600 million award against Blackberry some years ago.  Blackberry is filing for bankruptcy today.  Patents are granted for ridiculous things, like whether it takes one click or two clicks to place something in an internet shopping basket.  This constant threat of mickey mouse lawsuits makes getting a start up company off the ground harder.  It's the start ups  that employ people. 
6.  Remind every one that a $10 minimum wage doesn't put more money in worker's pockets, instead  it throws them out of work.
7.  Repeal the "Corporate Average Fuel Economy" (CAFE) requirements.  Four dollar a gallon gasoline is all the incentive anyone needs to build fuel efficient vehicles.  The current CAFE requirement of nearly 50 mpg makes new cars ridiculously expensive, leading to lower car sales and people refurbishing old cars to keep them running longer. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

CAFE or no CAFE?

Congress is getting ready to jack up the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. Currently new cars are supposed to get 27 mpg, and "light trucks" (SUV, minivan, pickup truck) are supposed to get 20 mpg. A Senate bill would wipe out the distinction between cars and light trucks and require all of them to meet the same standard.
Question: Since $3 gas happened, does not Detroit have all the incentive anyone needs to produce good gas mileage cars? Certainly sales of the big SUVs and pickups has nosedived, causing GM, Ford, and Chrysler to loose staggering amounts of money, while Toyota and Honda sales and profits are up?
Nother question: How real are CAFE standards actually? The Chrysler PT cruiser, which looks a lot like a car to me, is actually classed as a light truck. Chrysler did this to raise the average gas mileage on their light trucks. Each PT cruiser sold allowed the sale of a couple of Hemi powered Dodge Ram pickup trucks.
Last Question: If US citizens are willing to buy big vehicles for hauling flocks of kids, plywood from the lumber yard, furniture back from the yard sale, and trash to the dump, why not let them. It's a free country. Should we not be able to spend our hard earned dollars the way we like, as opposed to the way someone else thinks we ought to?