In late December, President Bush signed
into a law a new energy bill which will raise the Corporate Average Fuel
Economy (CAFE) average to 35 MPG by 2020. Some auto manufacturers balked at the
idea while the bill was under construction, but Detroit’s Big Three all
committed to complying with the new standard once it passed.
The first victims of the new energy bill are already
starting to show up just a month after the new energy bill passed.
General Motors announced that it cancelled
plans to build new versions of its Northstar V8 engine. GM's Northstar
engine was introduced in the 1990s and has been a staple in the engine bay of
high-end Cadillac luxury vehicles.
GM will instead rely on its direct-injection (DI) 3.6 liter
V6 engine to power its luxury vehicles. The DI V6 produces 304 HP in the CTS
compared to the 320 HP, 4.6 liter Northstar V8 engine used in the larger STS.
The V6 engine does, however, have a huge deficit in the area of torque when compared
to the current Northstar V8 -- the V6 produces just 273 lb-ft of torque while
the V8 delivers 315 lb-ft.
GM claims that the move to the DI V6 will not only improve
the fuel economy of its larger vehicles, but will also save weight across the
board -- the V6 is anywhere from 150 pounds to 200 pounds lighter than the
Another big loser in the midst of new CAFE regulations is
Chrysler’s Hemi engine. "The Hemi is not the powertrain of the
Chrysler co-president Jim Press. "It's the powertrain of today."
The Hemi engine will not be dropped entirely from the
Chrysler portfolio, but its role will be greatly diminished. The 5.7 liter V8
Hemi engine was recently upgraded for the 2009 Dodge Ram and now
produces 380 HP and 404 lb-ft of torque -- up from 345 HP and 375 lb-ft. Fuel
economy was also boosted by 4 percent and emissions were reduced compared to
the old Hemi engine.
Despite the upgraded power and improved fuel economy,
vehicles like the next generation Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 will likely
miss out on Hemi power. Instead, Chrysler is developing new "Phoenix"
high-output V6 engine to take the place of the Hemi. The engines will feature dual
overhead cams, variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation. Ranging-topping
variants are likely to surpass 300 HP, like its competitors, and provide better
fuel economy than its Hemi counterpart.
When it comes to actual vehicle platforms, General Motors is
already taking steps to comply with the update CAFE. The company originally planned
to resurrect the Pontiac GTO -- again -- using the same underpinnings as the
upcoming Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac G8. Those
plans are now shelved.
"I think (the Monaro/Pontiac GTO) is gone for
now," said GM's Bob Lutz. "We’ve got nothing in the product plan
right now like that. We’d like to have, but you can’t do everything."
GM was to also build the next generation Chevy Impala
using the same RWD platform. Those plans were also shelved and the next
generation Impala will continue to ride on a FWD platform.
Despite the killings that were mentioned above,
manufacturers are looking to new, more efficient powertrains to power their
vehicles into the future. All of the major manufacturers are looking to hybrid,
fuel cell and electric vehicles to boost fuel economy. Manufacturers, however,
are also looking towards an increased use of turbocharging and diesel
technology to boost economy.
Ford recently announced its "EcoBoost"
engine line which takes advantage of turbocharging. Its new 2.0 liter turbo four
produces an incredible 275 HP and 280 lb-ft of torque. The company's new 3.5
liter V6 produced a whopping 340 HP and 340 lb-ft thanks to turbocharging. Both
engines produce the power of a V6 and V8 engine respectively while achieving
greater fuel economy.
On the diesel front, General Motors will soon roll out a new
liter V8 Duramax diesel engine destined for its light-duty pickups and
SUVs. Toyota is following suit with a new
V8 diesel engine for its Tundra full-size pickup and Sequoia full-size SUV.
Honda is also prepared to make a 2.2 liter i-DETC diesel four cylinder engine
available in its 2009
Honda Accord and 2009
Acura TSX. A larger 3.5
liter V6 diesel will finds its way into the Honda Pilot, Honda Ridgeline
and Acura MDX.
The new CAFE regulations were a big wakeup call to all auto
manufacturers who sell vehicles in the U.S. It's great to see that
manufacturers are adept enough to evolve and adapt to give customers the power
they crave with increased fuel economy at the same time.
quote: Err, the Evo X (in addition to being more than 10% heavier than a Corvette) is also an all-wheel-drive model. That alone equals the difference in mileage between the two.
quote: Consumers buy what they can afford. When CAFE standards force domestic automakers to put big-block models at a price point high enough that they don't impact fleet standards, sales will certainly decline dramatically.
quote: Also, when comparing engines, you can't just pick one outlying example and claim its indicative.
quote: They're is ALWAYS a political reason for EVERYTHING Bush (or most all of politicians for that matter) does, has done, or will do.
quote: Do you really think he gives a damn about the economy
quote: and do you actually believe that the new CAFE standards will lead to lower gas prices?
quote: saving some money in your pocket in comparison to 2007 mpg.
quote: Neither oil companies nor OPEC set the price of oil. Commodity traders do
quote: every suggestion you brought up was something Republicans were fighting for but the Democrats and the enviro-activists shot them all down.
quote: Err, the Sun does have several known cycles which cause it to vary in both intensity and activity, the Maunder Cycle being the best known of these. Several climatologists do in fact believe that changes in solar activity are the primary driver for long-term climate change. See Svensmark's research at the Danish Space Center for one such reference.
quote: A 2004 essay by Naomi Oreskes in the journal Science reported a survey of 928 abstracts of peer-reviewed papers related to global climate change in the ISI database. Oreskes stated that "Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position. ... This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, and the public statements of their professional societies." Benny Peiser claimed to have found flaws in Oreskes' work, but his attempted refutation is disputed. Peiser later withdrew parts of his criticism, also commenting that "the overwhelming majority of climatologists is agreed that the current warming period is mostly due to human impact. However, this majority consensus is far from unanimous."
quote: The majority of climate scientists agree that global warming is primarily caused by human activities such as fossil fuel burning and deforestation. The conclusion that global warming is mainly caused by human activity and will continue if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced has been endorsed by at least 30 scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Joint Science Academies of the major industrialized and developing nations explicitly use the word "consensus" when referring to this conclusion.
quote: Schulte's Analysis: Not Published; Not Going to BeThe celebrated research by Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte, claiming that a legitimate debate still continues over the science behind climate change, is "a bit patchy and nothing new," according to Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen , editor of the Energy and Environment journal to which Schulte had submitted the work for publication.It is "not what was of interest to me" and will not be published, Boehmer Christiansen said (in email correspondence reproduced in full at the end of this post).(Thus, it turns out that the only way you could justify calling Schulte's work "peer-reviewed" is by pointing out that his biggest fan, Christopher Walter, is the Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley - a British peer.)
quote: Two of the papers conduct no actual scientific research but merely review social aspects of climate science. I'm baffled as to why they would be included other than to "boost the numbers":
quote: Ross Gelbspan wrote a 1995 article in Harper's Magazine which was very critical of Lindzen and other global warming skeptics. In the article, Gelbspan claimed that Lindzen charged "oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services; [and] his 1991 trip to testify before a Senate committee was paid for by Western Fuels and a speech he wrote, entitled 'Global Warming: the Origin and Nature of Alleged Scientific Consensus,' was underwritten by OPEC." According to a PBS Frontline report, " According to PBS, Dr. Lindzen has claimed in Newsweek and elsewhere that his funding comes exclusively from government sources, but he does not seem to include speaking fees and other personal compensation in this statement"
quote: Enhanced national and international research and other efforts are needed to support climate related policy decisions. These include fundamental climate research, improved observations and modeling, increased computational capability, and very importantly, education of the next generation of climate scientists. AGU encourages scientists worldwide to participate in climate research, education, scientific assessments, and policy discussions. AGU also urges that the scientific basis for policy discussions and decision-making be based upon objective assessment of peer-reviewed research results
quote: You feel the government has no responsibility in trying to maintain the long term stability of fuel supply (and therefore the country's economy)?
quote: Nonsense. There will still be a few muscle cars left for the rich enthusiasts.
quote: But there is no where that says driving is a right of the people; it's a privilege.
quote: Technically, the federal government is denied the right to restrict what we can drive.
quote: Technically, the federal government is denied the right to restrict what we can drive. If the Constitution does't specifically grant them that right, they don't have it.
quote: BMW is currently choosing not to follow these guidelines
quote: How about capping the maximum prices for homes in urban areas so people won't have to commute to work?
quote: One just can't play with the free markets and expect superior outcomes.
quote: Apparently those two positives, in your mind, are worth sacrificing for the luxury of a gas guzzling useless vehicle... but collectivity, the greater good outweighs that.
quote: According to CTA Director Andrew Kimbrell, "The real price of gas has been hidden from the consumer for far too long. Some of these costs including those associated with military actions in the Middle East and global warming could skyrocket in the coming years. Once the public understands how much they are really paying for gas we should see a tremendous increase in political pressure for alternatives."
quote: The thing you are forgetting is that you driving that 4MPG car is affecting the entire planet,
quote: The bill isn't killing the car, it's killing the engine, that's it. If the car needed a V8 just to move, then that's more of a design problem than anything else.
quote: And by your thinking you'd love to see all the smoking laws removed wouldn't you, [i]because it's your right[/]. Don't even make me laugh.
quote: By increasing the fuel economy, yes you must make changes to the engine, but you must also reduce weight.
quote: What I'm saying is simple. A 40 MPG car pollutes less than a 4 MPG car. You can't argue with that.
quote: I don't think all the safety features are really needed. That of course is because most accidents are really accidents, they can be prevented.
quote: We aren't even close to using up all the energy a gallon of gas has.
quote: But, you won't find cars like this 5 years from now, just like the lull of the '70's and '80's.
quote: mass of society wants they get
quote: Lower MPG means higher demand meaning higher price.
quote: If the demand was lower it would decrease the world demand, sure only by a little but it would still lower it.
quote: There is, however, a law that prevents anyone from selling you such a car. That's pretty much the same thing, now isn't it?
quote: Which means most automakers won't make those cars.
quote: It's still a law which punishes certain kinds of behavior.
quote: Where does it stop though?
quote: It equates to a rather large government-imposed fine for buying any car which doesn't meet the standard.
quote: the result of $3/gallon
quote: History has shown us that the free market is a more efficienct and powerful force for bringing about change
quote: But it doesn't mean that the government can't steer them in the right direction
quote: The standards are designed to help ease the cost of ownership of cars for 99% of the American public.
quote: Your logic is equivalent to the government banning all abortion clinics, but claiming abortion is still legal.
quote: I really liked this analogy because it's actually a VERY strong correlation
quote: Except that CAFE standards don't ban anything, where his example banned clinics.
quote: My point, Mr. Asher, was that if you REALLY want a 5 MPG car, you can still get one. No law is going to stop you from getting one should you have the means.
quote: The cost of intially producing any product is always high until it starts selling and the price comes down.
quote: Err, every major automaker *already* makes several cars that exceed the new CAFE standards. Problem is, people don't buy them.
quote: We as Americans need to change our standards then don't we.
quote: No, I want more than a monopoly of oil and gas no matter where it comes from. I live in the south, give me a car I can plug in and charge and drive where I need to when I need to. I don't drive cross country and my drive to work is just under 25 miles. God what does it take to get it through your heads that we're all slaves to gasoline.
quote: I live in the south
quote: I hope they mandate an electronic governor on cars like Cali did with thermostats that cuts the throttle at 70mph just to piss people off with no common sense.
quote: I see no technological engine advancements mentioned in this article to warrant such a long design process. Direct
quote: Cadillac spokesman Kevin Smith said, " We've really seen the V-6 become the predominant engine in sales on the (2008) STS because it's so close in power to the V-8."
quote: They didn't stop selling the engine. They stopped development on a new version of it. And yes, it was driven entirely by CAFE. Engine R&D is expensive, and takes years of sales to recoup. Why design a new engine that won't be out until 2014 or so, if you have stop selling it in 5 years?
quote: True, but the turbo'd 3.5 liter Ford V6 has more HP and torque than the V8 in the Mustang GT.
quote: Ford and GM already have a lot of European brands used to making turbo'd and diesel engines, so you'd think it would be quite easy to think of adapting some existing solutions for the US market.
quote: I believe you mean the change from a 5.0 to a 4.6 litre engine
quote: Is because the average person does not have direct knowledge of what is best for them.