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How Should Automakers Deal with Higher CAFE for Trucks?

How Should Automakers Deal with Higher CAFE for Trucks?

  
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How Should Automakers Deal with Higher CAFE for Trucks?

 
Edward A. Sanchez Edward A. Sanchez
Guru | Posts: 1908 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 08/01/07
10:16 AM

It looks like Congress might approve a CAFE standard increase for automakers. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that trucks are probably going to be the hardest to increase mileage for, simply by virtue of weight and aerodynamics. What do you think is the best way for automakers to make trucks more efficient to comply with this new standard? More diesels, more hybrids, lighter weight? All three?  

ForgedInternals ForgedInternals
New User | Posts: 8 | Joined: 07/07
Posted: 08/01/07
10:30 AM

Trucks have to become more efficient - and I think diesels are the answer.

Any links as to what the new CAFE standards are?  
Forged > Cast

car_bon_fire car_bon_fire
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 08/07
Posted: 08/01/07
10:39 AM

How does the Law actually work...increase standards of classes, or an automaker's fleet as a whole?  

55Guy 55Guy
New User | Posts: 9 | Joined: 01/07
Posted: 08/01/07
10:43 AM

Well, one of the first things that can be done is to lighten up how much trucks/suvs weigh. Composite technology has come a long way in the last few years, to the point you can get strength similiar to cast and forged metals but at a significant weight reduction. If you could take your average truck/suv and reduce its overall weight by 1,000 pounds, you're gonna see a big jump in mileage.

The next thing is fuel efficiency of the engine itself. My opinion is that these "multi-displacement" systems are the wrong way to go. Even if you're not running fuel to those 2 or four cylinders, you still have to expend energy to turn the rotating parts invovled with those cylinders.

What should be used are hotter ignition systems that require less fuel mixed with the air charge to ignite and make more power. If you can cut the amount of fuel in half you have to mix with air to make the same horsepower, your mileage is going to see a fantastic increase. An added advantage to this is a cleaner burning engine, because harmful hydrocarbons and other pollutants will be burned off during the combustion process.

The one downside to these ignition systems is their extremely high voltage, and the electrocution danger they create in the case of people don't have the common sense not to touch those parts when the car is running.  

Balboa455 Balboa455
User | Posts: 194 | Joined: 06/07
Posted: 08/01/07
01:29 PM

This is unrealistic timetable for new CAFE standards is just another example of the cavalier disregard the Bush administration has for the health of the American Auto Industry. George W. once said that the Big Three didn't need any help from the government but needed to "start building cars that are relevant." And now, just as they are starting to truly innovate he slaps this bill in their face. Now new rear drive platforms from GM and Ford are in jeopardy and their bread and butter (trucks) will have motors tuned only for fuel efficiency. We need to give the engineers at the big three more time to come up with new fuel efficiency innovations.  

Edward A. Sanchez Edward A. Sanchez
Guru | Posts: 1908 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 08/01/07
04:00 PM

Icon QuoteBalboa455:
This is unrealistic timetable for new CAFE standards is just another example of the cavalier disregard the Bush administration has for the health of the American Auto Industry. George W. once said that the Big Three didn't need any help from the government but needed to "start building cars that are relevant." And now, just as they are starting to truly innovate he slaps this bill in their face. Now new rear drive platforms from GM and Ford are in jeopardy and their bread and butter (trucks) will have motors tuned only for fuel efficiency. We need to give the engineers at the big three more time to come up with new fuel efficiency innovations.

Hey now, Balboa. You can't just lay this at the feet of the Bush administration. It's just as much the Democrat-controlled Congress as the White House. You know all those Prius-driving, wine & cheese party liberal elites had a hand in this as much as anyone.

What should have happened is the U.S. should have gotten serious about energy independence back in the 1970s, and started serious R&D and investment into alternative fuel technologies and infrastructure. But instead, we went back to our wasteful ways, and we're back at square one. Shame on us all.  

joela joela
User | Posts: 51 | Joined: 08/06
Posted: 08/01/07
04:48 PM

Shame on us all.  

And sorry, esanchez, but i don't see it changin' much. i suspect the so-called 'softer' bills advocated by (of course) michigan legislatures will carry the day. same with those states that toyota has made inroads. and despite your bias against the current congress, they're smart: while their voting populations say they want better mileage, they know they won't go for the necessary technology and regulations to do so.

so what'll we be getting? more fuel-efficient engines and more trucks and suvs  Crazy  

Edward A. Sanchez Edward A. Sanchez
Guru | Posts: 1908 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 08/01/07
05:41 PM

Well, whether we like to admit it or not, government legislation has done quite a bit to advance technology within the auto industry. I'm as much of a free-market advocate as anyone, but without the advent of CAFE and the EU standards and other similar legislative mandates worldwide about safety, economy, etc., chances are, we'd still be driving carbureted, 30-horsepower per liter dinosaurs like we had back in the early '80s.

Yes, market forces have had some impact on the evolution of the automobile, but industry, and the automotive industry in general is very slow to change unless they're directly feeling it in their wallet.

Joela, you're right, we'll probably end up getting a watered-down compromise bill that was heavily lobbied by the automakers, but higher standards of some sort or another are probably inevitable.  

joela joela
User | Posts: 51 | Joined: 08/06
Posted: 08/01/07
05:58 PM

RE: wallet.
and that's the rub. unless they do--via the consumer or the government--virtually any company will maintain the status quo. i suspect that we'll not only be seeing changes start to happen from CAFE, but from what's going out in Europe: the tighter emission laws, "pedestrian safety", etc. and in Asian (i.e., competition, market opportunities, smaller cars, etc.).

near future: more fuel-efficient cars, smaller cars, crossovers, hybrids. long-term: diesel, possibly ethanol, more hybrids, and the return of large vehicles.  

truckmod75 truckmod75
Moderator | Posts: 124 | Joined: 10/06
Posted: 08/01/07
06:05 PM

Icon Quotejoela:
RE: wallet.
and that's the rub. unless they do--via the consumer or the government--virtually any company will maintain the status quo. i suspect that we'll not only be seeing changes start to happen from CAFE, but from what's going out in Europe: the tighter emission laws, "pedestrian safety", etc. and in Asian (i.e., competition, market opportunities, smaller cars, etc.).

near future: more fuel-efficient cars, smaller cars, crossovers, hybrids. long-term: diesel, possibly ethanol, more hybrids, and the return of large vehicles.


Whoa! "...and the return of large vehicles." ?? Where did that one come from? Everything's pointing against that trend. How do you forsee that playing out?  

joela joela
User | Posts: 51 | Joined: 08/06
Posted: 08/03/07
10:44 AM

"Whoa! "...and the return of large vehicles." ?? Where did that one come from? Everything's pointing against that trend. How do you forsee that playing out?"

because such reports are short-term. looking at the general, long-term pattern of Americans -- such as slowed, not stopped! -- sales of large vehicles, their use in our society, and the conception that more/large is better (have you ever compared the first honda civics to the current ones?), americans maintain a death grip on their large vehicles.

look at crossovers, for example. why not switch to wagons, which have the same length but even better fuel efficency? perception, that's why. that perception leads to homes where one vehicle is a massive SUV or expensive (and usually large) luxury vehicle parked next to a prius. much of car ownership is psychology, not necessity.  

Thanos Ram 02 Thanos Ram 02
New User | Posts: 10 | Joined: 12/06
Posted: 10/14/07
02:33 AM

I can't speak for everyone else here, but the prospect of driving a truck with an engine I can't work on whatsoever sucks alot. Imagine engines like the Eco-Tec in a Silverado?

Government doesn't solve problems, it creates them.

You know what really gets me hot with the whole CAFE debate? The fact that this country had higher fatality rates with smaller, lighter vehicles in past, only to see a rise in overall vehicle weight heading into the 90's for safety reasons.

America is a virtually the coal mining capital of the world. All of that coal can be used to produce fuel and cut out independence of foreign oil. For whatever reason, our government refuses to go this route. It's hurting us all.

As for the environment, you can't fix that, no matter how much money you throw at it. If they would allow the manufacturers to build engines that allow for cleaner burning of fuels, without litigation concerns, we wouldn't be in this situation as far as trucks are concern.  
No copycats...

Wheat Wheat
Moderator | Posts: 431 | Joined: 10/07
Posted: 10/14/07
08:12 PM

Great thread with no solid answer as of yet. I'm still for the Electric revolution that's Going to happen in my lifetime..Smile  

Edward A. Sanchez Edward A. Sanchez
Guru | Posts: 1908 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 10/15/07
10:49 AM

Yeah. I used to be anti-EV. I used to think it would be sad when the day of the IC engine is over. But not anymore. I'm actually looking forward to the day when electrics are the predominant powertrain. The issues of battery life, recharge time, and range are the only big issues that need to be worked out.

That being said, I think IC engines are going to be the norm for at least another decade or two.  

Wheat Wheat
Moderator | Posts: 431 | Joined: 10/07
Posted: 10/15/07
12:30 PM

I agree with ya on the battery life. And the weight is an issue as well. (For Now)  

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