Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Super Efficient Vehicles

I've been listening to some pod casts by Amory Lovins and I'm excited about the prospect of sup efficient vehicles. With current day technology, car companies just need new factories, or changes to their existing factories, it sounds like fuel efficiency could double. I don't understand why Detroit is so anti-CAFE, when existing technology could get better than the suggested improvements already at almost no cost of material difference.

Amory talks about how Boeing leapfrogged Airbus by taking the time to design the entire system around efficiencies and the new Boeing saved a lot of fuel over the Airbus. Car companies have the same opportunity.

Another thing he mentions is that 70% of the fuel in the US is used by Heavy and Light trucks. As I said before, making Semi's more efficient will have the biggest effect on the cost of the gas. In the US there is about 400 million gallons per day that are consumed. Saving as little as 5% a day in these trucks will cut about 1 million barrels of oil a day, which would stop about 1 Oil tanker the size of the exxon Valdez tanker a day from entering the country (which also saves more oil) and reduces the amount of semi's on the road to deliver gas to gas stations by several hundred more. That also cuts down the amount of gas used. So a change in the fuel fleet by as little as 5% can have a huge impact. I got my numbers from How Stuff Works.

This is crazy considering that the past 20 years the car fleets of companies fuel efficiency has remained static. 20 years of no progress from the greatest scientific minds? I can't believe that in the time that supercomputers have gone from taking up rooms to taking up a 4 ft cabinet. And yet we haven't improved the fuel efficiency of cars or more importantly trucks. This just ticks me off.

As my friend Greg says, That's my rant, what's yours?