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Old 08-14-2008, 10:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Why are we solving the MPG problem ?????

So -- I was just watching that mercedes EV death machine video when I realize -- why didn't you Euros & Brits solve our eco mod problem years ago???

They have been paying out the *#@#$% for gas aka petrol -- for years now.

Anyhow -- just a thought.

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Old 08-14-2008, 10:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've wondered the same thing myself.

And I've come to the conclusion that because the people on the right side of the pond generally drive much smaller & more efficient vehicles, they figure they've already solved the problem.

Just a thought....
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Old 08-14-2008, 10:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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They have trains everywhere. I'm jealous
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Old 08-14-2008, 11:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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They have so many fuel-saving vehicles but...

The U.S. and Canada has:

-Strict regs on emissions, safety, etc.
-A horsepower addiction
-Fear of Diesel
-A bigger fear of small vehicles (false perception of size vs. safety)
-Longer stretches of high-speed operation

They filter over here in small numbers. We just have to be receptive to opening up our minds and free up the red tape...

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Old 08-16-2008, 01:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yep ... what RH77 said ... but we Americans suffer more from the addictions to larger, more powerful vehicles than our brethren to the north.

Yes, the Europeans have always driven smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles that would look absolutely absurd on North American highways mixed in with our current traffic.

One thing though, I've seen the pictures of the late-model European Civic on this site with rear wheel skirts ... but they sure seem rare. I'm surprised they aren't standard features on nearly every European car made by now.
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Old 08-16-2008, 02:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Urban sprawl and the need for individual transport and decreased focus on mass transport all contribute to our (USA) problem or rather why we seem so far behind than other nations who have had to contend with inflated prices for so long.

But if Europe adopted stringent environmental regulations as those in CARB, I doubt many of their vehicles would be up to snuff.

As to the skirt issue, I bet it's down to cost vs gains. Is it worth the money and time to design and create a removable panel for the minute gains that could be made up with smarter driving? I recently had an argument with my parents over this (I had attached rear wheel skirts) and they kept saying "well nobody else has them so they must not work!!!" line of reasoning. I start countering with aerodynamic drag and it flies over their heads faster than any deflector.

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Old 08-16-2008, 03:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The biggest difference between the US and Europe (and Canada) has been the amount of taxes used to artificially raise the price of fuel. European goverments use the money generated by fuel taxes to subsidize the public transportation systems. Euros only drive when they HAVE to. Fuel costs make rail travel an affordable alternative when going just about anywhere.

4 years ago we were part of a 3-way vacation house swap. We went to St. Martin, they went to Paris, and the Pariseans came to NH. They came a day early and I picked them up at the airport and helped them familiarize themselves with the house and the area. Artimus was truly overwhelmed with the size of my Honda Odyssey. He was stunned that it had almost 100K miles. He said that he'd been driving for 23 years and doubted that he had driven more than 100K km in that entire time even though he has always owned a car. The though of having to drive EVERYWHERE truly intimidated him, though they did manage to rack up almost 2K miles in the 2 weeks.

It's a different mindset.

The rest of the world should be thankful for this little upward blip in fuel prices, because it will be American consumers' demand for new fuel efficient technologies that has ultimately turned up the heat on the automakers to deliver. It is America that truly NEEDS the new technologies to come to market because automobiles ARE our critical primary transportation system. I doubt that's going to change in the next 100 years.
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Old 08-16-2008, 07:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Petrol price increase has been slow during decades, even if taxes are very important on gasoline and diesel. Depending on travel we chose the best way : car, bus, train, plane... These taxes are effectively used (at least in part) to build and improve public transportation and highways. As the system is more and more capitalistic, even public transportation has to be profitable, and usefulness isn't a parameter anymore. Added to recent fast petrol price increase, the MPG problem becomes predominant for more and more people.

As in the US, there is a lot of different situations. During 5 years, living in Paris, I drove 0 miles and I used the train to visit my family. Then I moved near Toulouse and used the bus daily, while I used the car during week-ends and to visit my family. Then I moved more far from Toulouse and the bus wasn't an option anymore and no train was near enough to be an option, so now I'm using my car everyday...

Some people are driving all day long, but I think European are driving less than American. Not only because public transportation may be more developed, but also because our countries are smaller and so are traveled distances.

About regs on emissions & safety, I don't know who (EU/US) has the stricter and comparing them would be difficult as there is different limitations and these are measured differently.

About the fact European cars are more fuel-efficient than in past is because the constructors had to resolve the emissions restrictions, at least during the last decade. Before that the diesel was cheaper because it had less taxes (this is always the case but now gasoline and diesel are roughly the same price) to help petrol companies to sell more diesel, so car constructors sold more diesel, emissions restrictions became stricter and car constructors made more fuel-efficient cars.

I just looked at honda.fr all the civic models but none has rear wheel skirts. Since a few weeks I'm looking at cars in the streets and I have seen none with rear wheel skirts and only a few new cars has partial grill block (C2 [IIRC] from Citroen are the most present). But more and more cars has the look of a prius (per ex. C4 from Citroen, some Honda, some Ford...).
EU do not have rear wheel skirt and partial block grill generalized because fuel efficiency wasn't a parameter when choosing a new car. Now this parameter begins to be important but this is certainly (at least in France) because we have eco-taxes based on CO2 emissions and because the less polluting cars are also the more efficient, so these one are more and more sold.

<grunt>why no french car constructor has an hybrid, and why do we have only the prius since last year, the civic hybrid since this year and no other hybrid sold in France ??? Ooops I'm forgetting the LPG has partial tax suppression since more than a decade... </grunt>

Since 4 years there is more and more automatic radars on French roads. Some people are always driving as fast as before, but a lot slowed down. They did it not to be safe, but to not get tickets and to keep points on their driving license... At the same time there has been a lot of pollution alerts, accompanied with temporary slower speed limitations. People has now associated speed with pollution.
Because there is now eco-taxes in France changing the cost of cars, people will associate consumption with pollution and the mentality will change durably.
I don't think petrol price fluctuation will change mentality. A few will change temporarily when price is high, but majority will quickly forget.

This is a durable change in my life that made me changed my mentality : the birth of my son

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Old 08-16-2008, 07:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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"As to the skirt issue, I bet it's down to cost vs gains. Is it worth the money and time to design and create a removable panel for the minute gains that could be made up with smarter driving?"

Smarter driving? Oh, azraelswrd, you crack me up!

I still think skirts are a factory accessory that would sell if they can show real MPG gains ... look at all the pour-in nonsense that is sold for engine sumps and gas tanks? How about doo-dads like the Tornado valve? Most of this doesn't work ... but it sells.

Show a gizmo people can purchase and stick on their cars (in this instance, a set of skirts) and people will buy it.

The downside is that a different set of skirts has to be designed for each vehicle ... pour in goo is a one-size-fits all product.
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Old 08-17-2008, 01:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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My dad's first Cadillac had wheel skirts.



Of course, it was easier to do then because the wheels were tucked further into the body. Modern design brings the wheels out almost even with the fenders, which makes skirt fabrication more difficult. Only Honda has chosen to make it a part of the design with the Insight.


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