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Posts Tagged ‘auto fuel economy’

Automakers Put Their Cars on a Diet

Bigger can be better -- and lighter, too.

by on Apr.13, 2015

The Cadillac CT6 - as big as a BMW 7-Series, but as light as a 5-Series.

With the launch of its 2016 CT6 sedan, Cadillac says it is setting out to “reinvent” itself, but some of the steps the maker has taken in the development of the new model will likely trigger changes across the industry.The new Cadillac CT6 is the same size as a big BMW 7-Series – but it weighs barely as much as the German maker’s smaller 5-Series sedan. In fact, the new Caddy flagship weighs less than its own midsize luxury sedan, the CTS.

“Lightweighting” has become one of the big buzzwords in today’s global auto industry as maker’s race to get the weight out of their vehicles.

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The primary reason is to meet the tough new Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards that will jump to 54.5 mpg by 2025. Mass, explains Cadillac Chief Engineer Dave Leone, “is the enemy of efficiency.”


U.S. Buyers Turn Away from High-Mileage Models

Average new vehicle fuel economy dips in April.

by on May.03, 2012

Increasing demand for larger, more powerful products, such as the Nissan Titan pickup, meant a drop in average April fuel economy.

With fuel prices now showing signs of hitting their peak are U.S. car buyers shifting focus from the high-mileage models that were quickly gaining ground earlier this year?

That’s one possible conclusion based on data collected by the University of Michigan showing that the fuel economy of the average new vehicle purchased in the U.S. last month dipped slightly from March, when fuel prices seemed to be rising that just about every other day.

And it fits into historical American patterns.  Even when gas prices were just nudging their all-time record of $4.12 in July 2008 consumers were already starting to purchase more pickups and SUVs, while demand for hybrids was on the slide.

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For April 2012, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, or UMTRI, reports the average fuel economy based on window-sticker values of new vehicles sold in the U.S. was down 0.2 miles per gallon from March. The decline appears to reflect an increase in sales of larger and less efficient trucks and crossovers that followed the slight reduction in the price of gasoline towards the end of April, according to U-M researchers.


Mississippi State University EV Wins 2010 EcoCAR

Virginia Tech, Penn State finish second, third with student cars.

by on May.27, 2010

The Mississippi State hybrid had a 21.3 kWh battery pack with an electric range of 60 miles.

Students from Mississippi State University placed first in the 2010 EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge finals in San Diego today after designing and building a biodiesel extended-range electric vehicle (EREV).

Virginia Tech earned second place with an ethanol-powered EV design. Penn State came in third place with a biodiesel fueled electric vehicle.

Mississippi State beat 15 universities in the second of a three-year competition sponsored by taxpayers via the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors, ditto on taxpayers providing the money.

During the contest,  North American engineering students rework a GM-donated vehicle to minimize fuel consumption and emissions, while maintaining its “utility, safety and performance.”

Mississippi State designed a hybrid with a 21.3 kWh A123 Systems battery pack, which provides an electric range of 60 miles. (Figure on $1,000 per kWh of storage at current prices, less than  tuition at some of the schools.) It’s also equipped with a 1.3-liter GM turbo-diesel engine and 75 kW generator in a series plug-in configuration.

During testing, the vehicle’s fuel economy was rated at 118 miles per gallon gas equivalent (combined city/highway cycle). In addition to the overall award, Mississippi State won nine additional awards, including performance events in autocross and acceleration runs.

“This was our most challenging year and stakes were high to have our vehicle ready for inspections. To finish a year of hard work and long hours in first place is an incredible honor for me and my teammates,” said Matt Doude from Mississippi State.


Fuel Economy Increases for Fourth Straight Year

EPA's latest trend report shows drivers seeking efficiency.

by on Nov.23, 2009

The Environmental Protection Agency is reporting an increase in fuel efficiency, along with a corresponding decrease in average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for new cars and light duty trucks.

In an annual report just issued, “Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2009,” EPA is including data for CO2 emissions for the first time.

For 2008, the last year for which EPA has final data from automakers, the average fuel economy was 21 miles per gallon (mpg). This positive trend began in 2005 and reversed a long period of decreasing fuel economy and increasing CO2 emissions from 1987 through 2004, as automakers successfully thwarted attempts to raise fuel efficiency requirements.

The report says, at 21 mpg, this returns CO2 emissions and fuel economy to levels of the early 1980s.

On September 15, of this year EPA proposed the first-ever light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standards under the Clean Air Act for model years 2012-2016. These proposed standards are part of a new, “harmonized” National Policy that also includes proposed corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for the same years by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Since 1975, overall new light-duty vehicle CO2 emissions have moved through four phases:

  1. A rapid decrease from 1975 through 1981;
  2. A slower decrease until reaching a valley in 1987;
  3. A gradual increase until 2004; and
  4. A decrease for the four years beginning in 2005.