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Fuel Economy

Mani Venkatesan
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Joined: Sep 15, 2002
Posts: 64
With the gas prices going up as they are, just wondering how my car compares in fuel economy with others over here.

Here's the stats for my car:

Toyota Corolla, 2001, ~51500 miles, ~31 MPG, mostly highway driving, single passenger (me!)


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Jeff Albertson
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Joined: Sep 16, 2005
Posts: 1780


Highway: 3.7 l/100 km.
[ May 17, 2006: Message edited by: Jeff Albertson ]

There is no emoticon for what I am feeling!
Ganpi Srinivasan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 17, 2005
Posts: 160
04 VW Jetta - alrdy put in 41K miles mostly wknd driving since i walk 2 work :roll:

but i get 30 miles/gallon!!!

no complaints at all since i luv my v-dub!!
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

I only get about 0.3 miles per gallon, but it's fun crushing compacts.



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Jeff Albertson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 16, 2005
Posts: 1780
Garsh, even the image file is *huge*! But don't you get tired of Prius drivers doing this:
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

Now I feel compelled to spoil my joke and confess that I drive a minivan that gets about 27 mpg on the highway. I'm realizing that although the pictured vehicle is absolutely ludicrous, there exist actual people who will tell you, truthfully, proudly, and with a straight face, that they drive one.
Jeff Albertson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 16, 2005
Posts: 1780
My image was a joke, too (I drive a 10-year-old Camry), but I do have a neighbour who has drives a smart car and loves it. And at 730kg it's *1/4* the weight of a 2909kg H2.
Peer Reynders
Bartender

Joined: Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 2922
    
    5
Originally posted by Jeff Albertson:
But don't you get tired of Prius drivers doing this


Eh, hybrids are just an (unfortunately necessary) transitional technology.

Even back in 1980 Bockris/Justi investigated in Energy options: Real economics and the solar-hydrogen system what it will take to move to a distributed energy economy. Hydrogen still seems to be the ideal energy carrier.
(Don't go Hindenburg on me. It was the "new" highly flammable all-weather coating on the exterior that was ultimately responsible for that incident. Hydrogen is actually safer than propane under many circumstances, as it doesn't pool on the ground and it has a high diffusion velocity � meaning it will quickly dilute in the air to the point where it is no longer a threat.)
IIRC correctly commercially viable alternatives to platinum now exist to serve as catalysts in hydrogen fuel cells. So the biggest problem is establishing the distribution/collection infrastructure to replace power-lines and gasoline pumps (and the associated price tag); then you'd fuel your vehicle at home (you'd still need alternate distribution outlets for travel).
Jeroen T Wenting
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Joined: Apr 21, 2006
Posts: 1847
My '98 Ford Fiesta does about 450-500km on 30 liters of standard unleaded.
That's about the same as a Prius, despite that one having a hybrid engine and costing 3-4 times as much.

Quite a lot better than my parents' Grand Vitara which does about 150 km on the same amount of gas.


42
Jeff Albertson
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Joined: Sep 16, 2005
Posts: 1780
> Eh, hybrids are just an (unfortunately necessary) transitional technology.

In any case, aren't all current hydrogen fuel cell cars million dollar prototypes? That doesn't sound like they'll be commerically available any time soon. And if you could spare me the reading of that ackie paper, how do they propose getting the hydrogen? Solar power? What's the scale of that? If I commute -- say I drive a modest 100km a day -- what spread of solar panels would I need to recharge my car? A couple football fields?
Peer Reynders
Bartender

Joined: Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 2922
    
    5
Originally posted by Jeroen T Wenting:
That's about the same as a Prius, despite that one having a hybrid engine and costing 3-4 times as much.

Don't forget that humungous (and expensive) battery that you have to exchange every few years � wonder how much of that is recyclable.

Four years ago I looked at all the factors (the price of gasoline was just going to go up) and decided to go with the mature technology solution that saved me 10000 can$ over the Prius � Echo with a standard transaxle (650-700km on 40L).
Peer Reynders
Bartender

Joined: Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 2922
    
    5
Originally posted by Jeff Albertson:
[QB]In any case, aren't all current hydrogen fuel cell cars million dollar prototypes?

Even if you built a standard consumer car the way they build concept cars they would cost an arm and a leg. But things are moving along:
DaimlerChrysler Builds First Fuel Cell-Powered Police Car

Originally posted by Jeff Albertson:
how do they propose getting the hydrogen? Solar power?

Despite the title they quickly established in the book the solar power could not sustain the energy requirements on its own. That's why they proposed the concept of a distributed energy economy � i.e. whenever you have spare power use it to produce hydrogen/oxygen from water. So a farmer could use windmill generators for his own use but sell off any excess � the solar-panel obsessed house owner could do the same. They even listed using "cheap" night power from hydro-electric facilities as a means to produce hydrogen.
One of the more ambitious (and expensive) solar power proposals was the creation of huge "desalination plants" in costal desert regions. These plants would use solar power to continuously purify seawater. It is likely that such a plant couldn't use solar-cells because the silicon variety isn't very effective in the heat � they would have to resort to the good old heat'n'steam approach. Again any excess power could be used to produce hydrogen. Some even suggested to design the solar collection structures in such a way that they could also act as "shade-givers" for new agricultural ventures underneath.
Some of these "outlandish" ventures are becoming more feasible because of the continual (overall) cost increase for fossil fuels.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20586
    ∞

I remember getting a ride from a friend driving an old honda civic. He says it got 50 mpg. It was small, but it seemed peppy enough.

Here in Seattle, people are nuts for biodiesel. I knew of a guy driving a new diesel bug with biodiesel getting 54 mpg.


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Daniel Lucas
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 24, 2006
Posts: 48
Mani, your car is above average for fuel economy. Personally, I use an ~20 year old Honda Accord. I haven't measured its mpg, but I'm sure it's around 50. It's darned slow too...
Peer Reynders
Bartender

Joined: Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 2922
    
    5
Originally posted by Paul Wheaton:
Here in Seattle, people are nuts for biodiesel. I knew of a guy driving a new diesel bug with biodiesel getting 54 mpg.


I loved my old VW Rabbit Diesel in university - however it also taught me that -20C temperatures (in winter) and a diesel engine without an eletricity outlet in sight (for the block-heater) don't mix.
The mileage that current VW turbo diesels get is amazing.
Herb Tybur
Greenhorn

Joined: May 12, 2006
Posts: 19
Originally posted by Peer Reynders:


Eh, hybrids are just an (unfortunately necessary) transitional technology.
...
Hydrogen still seems to be the ideal energy carrier.


There is quite a lot of debate on this. Even though hydrogen doesn't cause any pollution while burning, it is not a good fuel at all because it causes more pollution to produce hydrogen (usually through electrolysis, which requires electricity) than when you burn gas.

Hybrid is a very good technology and much better than Hydrogen because it effectivly increases the efficiency of the vehicle by harnessing energy that was being wasted anyway (while braking).

Of course, solar power is the best.
Peer Reynders
Bartender

Joined: Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 2922
    
    5
Originally posted by Herb Tybur:
Hybrid is a very good technology and much better than Hydrogen because it effectivly increases the efficiency of the vehicle by harnessing energy that was being wasted anyway (while braking)


Good luck getting a combustion engine with an efficency much beyond 40% (regardless of the type of fuel) - with fuel cells over 80% is possible. Braking energy generated from the electric motors can always be stored for short periods in "capacitors" in any system - that's usually all that is needed.
Solar energy is notoriously unreliable - you need a way of storing it (and for all intents and purposes fossil fuels are just that - solar energy not very efficiently stored from a long, long time ago).
[ May 17, 2006: Message edited by: Peer Reynders ]
Dave Lenton
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Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 1241
Even if someone figured out a way of making a nice cheap alternative fuel, it could still be quite a while before it becomes easy for the average customer to use it. Currently the refuelling infrastructure (petrol stations) largely are owned by the oil companies, and they are doing very nicely out of the large cost of fuel. As long as they all don't install pumps for the new fuel, they can all continue to profit from continuing to sell petrol instead.

It would probably take either legislation to force new pumps to be installed, or for one of the companies to attempt to make a risky move into the new fuel market.


There will be glitches in my transition from being a saloon bar sage to a world statesman. - Tony Banks
Jeroen T Wenting
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Joined: Apr 21, 2006
Posts: 1847
the problem with hydrogen cars is that the hydrogen is mainly created by chemical processes out of natural gas, a fossil fuel, and that more natural gas is used to create the temperatures at which the process takes place...
The rest comes from electrolysis of water, which takes a lot of energy too, most of it coming from burning oil, coal, and natural gas.
And as long as the treehuggers keep blocking the evolution and commercialisation of nuclear energy (and especially breeders and efficient reuse of nuclear waste as fuel for them) that situation is unlikely to change.
As it is, expended nuclear fuel rods are stored when they could be disassembled and refined into fuel for breeders (and to an extent new fuel rods for normal reactors as well) because environmentalists have successfully played on misplaced fears in the general population to get lawmakers to prohibit the refining of nuclear waste products.
Paul Sturrock
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Joined: Apr 14, 2004
Posts: 10336


As it is, expended nuclear fuel rods are stored when they could be disassembled and refined into fuel for breeders (and to an extent new fuel rods for normal reactors as well) because environmentalists have successfully played on misplaced fears in the general population to get lawmakers to prohibit the refining of nuclear waste products

That is not accurate, the refinement of spent fuel rods is not prohibited (at least not in Europe). MOX fuel is a "refinement" of spent fuel rods which is has been produced (and used) throught Europe since the mid-60s.


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Jeff Albertson
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Joined: Sep 16, 2005
Posts: 1780
Above I gave the smart car's listed highway rating as 3.7 l/100 km. That's over 63 mpg for you Americans! (But is it sold in the USA anyway?) The city mileage for the Prius (which is supposed to trump its highway mileage) is given as 60 mpg but I've read in Consumer Reports that you especially can't trust numbers for hybrids.
[ May 18, 2006: Message edited by: Jeff Albertson ]
Axel Janssen
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 08, 2001
Posts: 2164

50 Euro / 300 km.
150 - 300 km/h
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20586
    ∞

My girlfriend owns a prius and regularly gets 48.
Peer Reynders
Bartender

Joined: Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 2922
    
    5
Originally posted by Jeroen T Wenting:
The rest comes from electrolysis of water, which takes a lot of energy too, most of it coming from burning oil, coal, and natural gas?

Currently it seems to take 1.4 units of energy to store 1 unit of energy in hydrogen � it would be insane to do that with fossil fuels.
However I wonder if anybody ever did a similar total energy analysis on the increasingly popular "solar -> plant matter -> ethanol" alternative (which potentially places additional pressure on the limited arable land available)?

Originally posted by Jeff Albertson:
But is it sold in the USA anyway?

Here in Canada they are being sold mainly through the Mercedes dealerships. They are becoming a kind of anti-SUV status symbol � I suspect that very few Smarts are the only car in the family. I liked it immediately when they were first being sold years ago in Germany. However it always struck me like a motorcycle on four wheels with a roof. A Smart is more versatile but given the right weather conditions a motorcycle is more fun (in my personal opinion).

Originally posted by Paul Wheaton:
My girlfriend owns a prius and regularly gets 48.


That's consistent with the numbers on the 2002 Prius manifest: 5.5 L/100km (42.8 mpg) highway; 4.5 L/100km (52.3 mpg) city.
Some time ago I came across an article that claimed that there is a certain mpg (L/100km) competitiveness between hybrid-owners. Apparently hybrids have a special mpg (L/100km) gauge that shows the fuel-efficiency real-time, i.e. as a result of driving style. In the interest of behavior modification, maybe every car needs one of those, now that fuel costs are burning a bigger hole into everybody�s pocket, with the option of entering the current gas price, so that we can see our money flying out of the tailpipe real-time.
[ May 18, 2006: Message edited by: Peer Reynders ]
Dave Lenton
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 1241
I came across an interesting article yesterday (damn, can't find it now). The writer describes how he went on holiday to Texas. When he arrived at the airport and went to hire a car, the hire company offered him a bigger car for free. He turned it down, saying that he preferred small cars, and they looked at him as if he was a complete idiot. Apparently they offered it to him a couple more times, sure that he must have not understood!

Was this representative of a general love of bigger cars, or just a particularly dense hire car worker?
Jeroen T Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 21, 2006
Posts: 1847
Currently it seems to take 1.4 units of energy to store 1 unit of energy in hydrogen � it would be insane to do that with fossil fuels.

yet that's exactly what happens.

Electrolysis is theoretically a more attractive option if you have free or very cheap energy at your disposal, but that's a pipedream still.
All so-called "green" energy forms take a massive initial energy investment to produce the powerplants, an investment you're never going to recover if you're going to throw it all away by dumping it into producing hydrogen (you would literally see your investment disappear into thin air ).

However I wonder if anybody ever did a similar total energy analysis on the increasingly popular "solar -> plant matter -> ethanol" alternative (which potentially places additional pressure on the limited arable land available)?

The production of those plants, transportation, and extraction of the alcohol costs about 2 units of energy per unit stored.
And that too is done, and in the US on a massive scale. The farm machinery and trucks needed use more gas than is saved in the vehicles running (in part) on ethanol...
Were the production to be closer to the cities you might just about break even, but then too it would still not be economical.
Peer Reynders
Bartender

Joined: Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 2922
    
    5
Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
Was this representative of a general love of bigger cars, or just a particularly dense hire car worker?


Both - I think the old and the new attitudes are colliding here.

The Toyota Camry was designed as a 4 cylinder car. For the North American market Toyota needed to add a (guzzling) V6 option, as 4 cylinder engines where perceived to have insufficient "passing power" - it's all about "more power". In Germany the Mercedes 190 started out with a 1.9L engine. Once it hit the North American market it started at 2.2L with options to go all the way up to 2.6L.
In addition most cars in North America are sold with an automatic transmission despite the fact that it automatically increases your average fuel consumption by about 1L/100km (mileage reduction depends on the vehicle's fuel efficiency); I suspect that the recently introduced "steering wheel paddle shifters" on some high-end sports cars don't exactly count as a "standard transaxle". Because hybrids use electric motors they are "automatics" be default.
Liberal use of ubiquitous A/C doesn't help either (and I'm talking liberal here � in some areas there are days were you just can't "survive" inside the car without A/C � open windows just don't cut it).
Jeff Albertson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 16, 2005
Posts: 1780
Originally posted by Peer Reynders:

The Toyota Camry was designed as a 4 cylinder car. For the North American market Toyota needed to add a (guzzling) V6 option, as 4 cylinder engines where perceived to have insufficient "passing power" - it's all about "more power".


I believe these numbers are for the 2007 Camry:

4 cylinders: 9.8 litres/100 km (29 mpg) city; 6.57 litres/100 km (43 mpg) highway
6 cylinders: 10.7 litres/100 km (26 mpg) city; 7.0 litres/100 km (40 mpg) highway

I know gas guzzling. The biggest difference between 4 and 6 cycinders is the price tag.
Frank Silbermann
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Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1387
Originally posted by Peer Reynders:
The Toyota Camry was designed as a 4 cylinder car.
For the North American market Toyota needed to add
a (guzzling) V6 option, as 4 cylinder engines were
perceived to have insufficient "passing power"
- it's all about "more power". In Germany the Mercedes 190
started out with a 1.9L engine. Once it hit the North American market
it started at 2.2L with options to go all the way up to 2.6L.
Blame MacDonalds restaurants. If you compare trucks
designed for transporting cows versus those for chickens you find
that the cow-transports also need more power. :-)


Originally posted by Peer Reynders:
In addition most cars in North America are sold with an automatic transmission
despite the fact that it automatically increases your average
fuel consumption by about 1L/100km ...;
I suspect that the recently introduced "steering wheel paddle shifters"
on some high-end sports cars don't exactly count as a "standard transaxle".
Because hybrids use electric motors they are "automatics" be default.
This was more of an issue when automatic transmissions were analog-controlled 3-speeds.
Computer-controlled automatic 5-speeds may actually be more efficient than manuals
for all but the best drivers.

Originally posted by Peer Reynders:
Liberal use of ubiquitous A/C doesn't help either (and I'm talking liberal here
� in some areas there are days were you just can't "survive" inside the car without A/C �
open windows just don't cut it).
The U.S. has more extreme temperatures than Europe -- colder winters and hotter summers in most places.
That said, I did without air-conditioning in my car for 14 out of the 16 years I lived in New Orleans
(mainly because air-conditioning rarely works and is too expensive to fix in a car more than ten years old).
Fortunately, it was bearable early in the morning when driving to work, and after arriving home
(stopping at the tennis courts on the way), I could take a shower. When you have five kids
and one income, you have to compromise!
[ May 19, 2006: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]
Peer Reynders
Bartender

Joined: Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 2922
    
    5
Originally posted by Jeff Albertson:


I believe these numbers are for the 2007 Camry:

4 cylinders: 9.8 litres/100 km (29 mpg) city; 6.57 litres/100 km (43 mpg) highway
6 cylinders: 10.7 litres/100 km (26 mpg) city; 7.0 litres/100 km (40 mpg) highway

I know gas guzzling. The biggest difference between 4 and 6 cycinders is the price tag.


I was talking when the Camry V6 came onto the market. I remember that in 1997 consumption for the 4c version was approximately 7.5L/100km while it was about 10L/100km for the 6c version (highway). Toyota has seen the light since then and improved fuel efficiency significantly - probably with some sacrifices to "horsepower" (i.e. there could be more power if they allowed it to guzzle more).
Peer Reynders
Bartender

Joined: Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 2922
    
    5
Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
This was more of an issue when automatic transmissions were analog-controlled 3-speeds. Computer-controlled automatic 5-speeds may actually be more efficient than manuals for all but the best drivers.

I wouldn't doubt that � but which cars actually have a "computer-controlled 5-speed automatic". On my recent walk across the dealer's lot there was still that ~1L/100km penalty for using an automatic (in addition to the 500-1000$ cost), documented by the feature manifest in the window, especially for sub-compacts that tend to have better gas mileage.

Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
The U.S. has more extreme temperatures than Europe -- colder winters and hotter summers in most places.

Don�t I know it. The great lakes don't buffer the continental climate that much just north of the border.

Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
When you have five kids and one income, you have to compromise!.

What about those people who "compromise" by the running the A/C and leaving the windows open? :roll:
[ May 19, 2006: Message edited by: Peer Reynders ]
marc weber
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:
...although the pictured vehicle [Hummer] is absolutely ludicrous, there exist actual people who will tell you, truthfully, proudly, and with a straight face, that they drive one.

I would almost be willing to pay for their therapy, just to find out exactly what's wrong with them.


"We're kind of on the level of crossword puzzle writers... And no one ever goes to them and gives them an award." ~Joe Strummer
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Jeff Albertson
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Joined: Sep 16, 2005
Posts: 1780
Originally posted by marc weber:

I would almost be willing to pay for their therapy, just to find out exactly what's wrong with them.


I know what's wrong with the men, but what about the women?
 
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subject: Fuel Economy