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How The 35 mpg Law By 2020 Will Affect The Cars We Will Drive

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Comments

  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Well, it's not a "revelation" to say "batteries wear out."

    That doesn't make hybrids "flaky."

    Definition of flaky from dictionary.com:

    "...A system that is flaky is working, sort of - enough that you are tempted to try to use it - but fails frequently enough that the odds in favor of finishing what you start are low...."

    Hybrid cars and trucks to date have been VERY reliable as a whole.

    And as for your thought "hybrids are the absolute WORST thing for the highway." -

    I'm not sure where you got that idea, but my personal experience and knowledge of hybrids disputes that statement.

    I have owned two hybrid cars: a 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid and a 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid. Both have achieved great highway numbers for their class. My best hwy tank on my HCH was 56.4 miles per gallon, and my best hwy tank on my TCH has been right around 40 MPG.

    For cars in their size and equipment level, that's pretty darn good. No other car the USA the size of the TCH (in it's price range) can equal that. Maybe the new Passat diesel when it hits the USA will be able to do that - we shall see.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Your TCH with the ordinary 2.4L engine will get about the same highway....you see, without the stop-go traffic to recharge the batteries through regenerative braking and deceleration, a "hybrid" on the highway is mostly a regular ICE engine with a bunch of extra weight tacked on for the ride. The ICE ends up doing 95% of the work. The Altima shows very minimal difference too, if you check the numbers between the 2.5S and the Hybrid, looking at highway mileage. The primary impact comes from different gearing (and possibly the psychological impact on the driver that he is driving a hybrid).

    Hybrids were designed for city driving...that's where their biggest impact as far as fuel savings are. On the highway the difference is comparatively low...in fact, every hybrid out there gets better mileage city than highway.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,138
    Hybrid cars and trucks to date have been VERY reliable as a whole.

    I am not familiar with the hybrid trucks you are referring to. 8 years is not nearly long enough to determine longterm reliability. Especially for those of us that put less than 10k miles per year.

    The Passat Wagon TDIs would match the TCH very well. With a lot more luggage space. They were sold in most of the USA until 2006. Even in CA till 2004. So they are out there in the hands of those lucky enough to get one.

    I made 17.5 cents per mile profit driving my Passat for 13 months. Try that with any hybrid you like.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I completely understand the "design" aspects and the added weight. But the "net result" turns out to be superior mileage.

    The standard, ICE-only Camry cannot touch the TCH in city, hwy or overall mileage.

    Whatever you'd like to think, no 2007 Camry I know about can average 35 MPG combined like my TCH has in the 21 months I have owned it.

    That extra MPG is why I bought the hybrid and not the XLE.

    Hybrids might have "been designed" for optimizing city mileage, but they do darn well on the open road too.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I have achieved 38 mpg on long highway trips in a loaded down 4-cylinder Accord before, so with Camry rating about the same for fuel economy and given that I wasn't trying, I think it wouldn't be too hard to match the Camry hybrid for pure highway driving.

    In the city, of course, it is no contest, the hybrid WINS. And as a running average, I would imagine the hybrid would win most of the time, although results could be close depending on how much of your driving was highway.

    What they need to do next is increase the capacity of the battery packs in hybrids A LOT, so that the electrics can do more of the work even at high speeds.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    EPA mileage estimates (city/highway):

    Camry: 21/31
    Camry Hybrid: 33/34 (first one I've seen that does better highway...by ONE MPG)
    3 MPG ain't much

    Altima: 23/31
    Altima Hybrid: 35/33
    2 MPG difference.

    Ford Escape i4: 20/26
    Ford Escape Hybrid: 34/30
    4 MPG difference...that one actually impresses me a bit...if only the Escape wasn't such a rotten vehicle. :P

    The advantages of a hybrid on the highway are minimal. If one does a lot of city driving then it makes a huge difference, and I recommend anyone who does a lot of city driving consider a hybrid (a REAL hybrid, not a GM, heh). Highway is a different story, and while 4 MPG begins to impress me, the gas savings is not enough to offset the additional cost of buying a hybrid over a standard ICE drivetrain (which tends to be between $2000 and $5000, depending on model and trim level).

    Me I drive 95% highway. I also hate the Escape, so I have to think about whether I'll save enough on gas to offset the additional cost of driving a hybrid, to save 2 MPGs. Or I could spend even LESS, buy an Elantra or Corolla, and get the same highway mileage I'd get in a Camry Hybrid or Altima Hybrid, without having to spend $25k+. ;)

    Like I said, hybrids aren't the right answer for the highway.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    says, "Like I said, hybrids aren't the right answer for the highway."

    Maybe in your own personal belief set, sure. No one car is perfect for every situation ever devised.

    But the VAST MAJORITY of cars are more than "hwy only" vehicle.

    As a combined traffic vehicle, be it 95% urban and 5% rural or reversed, no gasoline-only car of comparable weight and features does as well as the TCH in the OVERALL MPG department.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    There is a real simple mathematical coefficient that can be applied to all 4 major hybrid technologies.

    Take the EPA gasser values then
    increase the highway driving figure by 10%
    increase the city driving figure by 50-60%

    That's the hybrid EPA values.

    Camry 4c gasser 21 / 31 / 25
    Camry hybrid..... 33 / 34 / 34

    All the hybrids get about 10% better fuel economy on the Highway than the non-hybrid versions. How can anyone complain about this? My Prius gets 48 mpg all day long in Hwy driving conditions. That's a huge improvement over my previous 4 Camry's ( 32-34 mpg Hwy ).

    You might want to rethink your prejudices.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Cost/benefit. I can spend $25k on a Camry Hybrid and get 34 MPG highway....or I can spend $18k on a Corolla 1.8, and get 35 MPG highway. I do so little city driving that the city number is meaningless to me. Which one makes more sense financially? The way I drive I'd probably get 40 MPG with either one. So a hybrid makes very little sense to me.

    Though I do happen to like the Prius as a general motor vehicle...as a rule, I prefer hatchbacks. ;) But in most cases, for me, a hybrid isn't worth the cost over and above the ICE model, or the next-size-down vehicle (which these days have the interior volume of midsize cars anyway).

    Lots of people do lots of highway driving, especially here in NY State. So far, the hybrid designs have been primarily focused on city mileage, because they were designed in Japan, and that's the majority of the driving that occurs there. Fair enough. But as someone said before, some additional battery capacity would be helpful in increasing the highway MPGs....really, there would have to be a 5-6 MPG increase at minimum on the highway for it to start being worth it.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    That comparo is always fallacious because the logical progression is .. a bicycle.

    Yes a hybrid Camry costs more than a Corolla and a Corolla costs more than a 97 Taurus and a 97 Taurus costs more than a bicycle. All 4 get one from A to B. Nothing else can be said except that one can't compare any of these rationally because the bicycle always wins. They are all apples, oranges, pears and bananas.

    One can compare non-equal options but at some point the comparer draws a line and says 'Nothing smaller/worse/more basic than this.' You may consider the Corolla roughly equal to the Prius but then draw the line at a 12 y.o. used car as being far too 'rough'. That's an arbitrary personal decision. In my case when looking for a new vehicle I drew the line between the midsizers and the compacts....all compacts were eliminated as being too small and too basic.

    So the first question is where does each of us draw that lower limit line? Someone who envisions himself as a $30000 buyer will find all the Prius' and Corollas as too basic. Thus since there is no absolute comparativeness all that can be said is that the vehicles have to be made roughly equivalent in sizes, options, trims and then compared. The correct non-hybrid comparative is the Matrix. Both are 5 door hatches with roughly the same equipment. You will find that if you do a comparo between the Matrix and the Prius that the Prius comes out costing less in every combination from 2 yrs to 15 yrs.

    However for all of us bicycles are always better options for fuel economy.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,138
    So the first question is where does each of us draw that lower limit line?

    My lower limit is the MB ML though I prefer the GL size for cargo. A Trailblazer is fine for vacation rental. I would even consider an Acadia/Enclave as a rental vehicle. I think the Pilot/Highlander are just a bit cramped for me. These are vehicles I would take on a long trip. I can drive most anything to the store and usually do. Heck I drive around mostly in my beater 99 Ford Ranger. I sure would not head to AZ in it. I also drive the LS400 just because it is there and it runs. Mostly trips to town, nothing over 30 miles as it is old and who knows what might decide to quit working with a 19 year old vehicle. I will be curious to see how many 19 year old Prius are still running good.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I'll get back to you on that one.. :shades: ..at that point I should have about 750,000 miles on mine..
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,138
    Mine is at 94k miles. Put almost 2000 miles this year. We have been really putting the miles on the Sequoia. We have only had it 6 months and already hit 5k miles. Had the first service.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Whoa, slow down there! You are going to run the wheels right off those vehicles if you're not careful! :-P

    I do about 30K miles a year, of which probably 5K or so are job-related, I get reimbursed for those.

    I am frequently needed for babysitting and transportation for nieces and nephews in the next county, which is why I have sworn my next car will be 50 mpg. But it's got to have a stick, none of this Prius business for me.

    Whether it's the new CAFE regs or the gas prices that spur automakers to get off their butts and give us more fuel-efficient automotive options, I hope they do it SOON.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,138
    Whether it's the new CAFE regs or the gas prices that spur automakers to get off their butts and give us more fuel-efficient automotive options, I hope they do it SOON.

    Don't hold your breath. As long as there are warring entities in the State and Federal government, we will not see significant increases in MPG. You getting 50 MPG will decrease the taxes for Ahnold and his cronies in Sacramento to waste. I think they are proposing an additional 9 cent tax increase on the highest gas tax in the USA. That will bring us up to about 71 cents on gas and 80 cents on diesel. Then by the time Moonbeam sues the automakers for their contribution to CO2 a Toyota Yaris will cost $30k.If you could find a nice clean 1988 CRX HF you could get your 50 MPG and repairs would not break the bank. All this worthless legislation is pushing folks to repair older less expensive cars and trucks. You can put a brand new engine and transmission in a 1990 Civc for the price of one hybrid battery pack. Woe is you if the HSD/PSD goes out in your Prius. That is a cool $10 grand.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    "...my next car will be 50 mpg. But it's got to have a stick..."

    Many current automatic transmissions are so close in efficiency to manual trans. that the old stick shifts are almost anachronistic.

    Also, the continuously variable transmissions, particularly on Honda hybrids, are MORE efficient than stick shifts.

    Here's my Civic Hybrid's average mpg after 20K miles:

    http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=43671

    .
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Gross Exageration.

    First the CARB warranty is 10 yrs / 150,000 miles so there's no risk at all until then. But you knew that. At 150,000 miles or 10 yrs what is any vehicle worth? Look up a 97 Taurus ( $156 ), Look up a 97 Corolla ( $589 ). Look up a 97 Concorde ( $74 ). If they are running none are worth more than $1000 tops.

    Throwing around a $10000 figure is false for three reasons....
    ..under warranty the figure is $0, and
    ..at 150,000 miles /10 yrs no one in their right mind sinks $10000 into a vehicle that's worth $156!!!!, and finally
    ..that $10000 figure is bogus.

    For me at 7 yrs and 225,000 miles I've received 'full value' from my $24000 purchase. What happens after that is pure freerolling ownership. I don't care what happens to the vehicle at that point.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Many current automatic transmissions are so close in efficiency to manual trans. that the old stick shifts are almost anachronistic.

    Not really. Automatics are just geared a lot taller to even up the mileage figures.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    Plus, if you really want a stick shift, no automatic is going to be a viable substitute. They just don't give you the same amount of control of the engine that a stick does. And if anything, I'd say the newer electronically controlled automatics are slower to respond than the old mechanical/vacuum controlled ones! I wonder if they're programmed to do that to save fuel?
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    "For me at 7 yrs and 225,000 miles I've received 'full value' from my $24000 purchase."

    My theory is that you only "pay" for a car as long as you literally pay for it. That is, as long as the loan term lasts, that's how long you "pay" for it, and every mile after that constitutes "pure freerolling ownership."

    So if the loan is 5 years, you pay for five years, then you really derive a financial benefit in year 6. If the loan is 3 years, you start benefitting in year 4. And if you pay cash, you benefit right away.

    Also, I don't get into the "opportunity cost" discussions about financing vs. paying in full. If you have $20,000 in cash, yes you may either buy a car, or finance it and put the $20 grand in a money market account (2%) or C.D. (3%) or buy a stock with it (?%) or get into leveraged speculation in the commodities markets (you'll think you have a chance to make big bucks, but watch out!).

    So the concept of "opportunity cost" quickly degenerates into a woulda/coulda/shoulda argument, and nothing gets resolved. Plus, markets and interest rates are constantly changing, so today's "opportunity" might be tomorrow's mistake, if you stick with it.

    For example, when I bought my Civic Hybrid last year, I put zero down and financed the purchase at 2.9%. At the time, my money market account was paying 4.2%, so it was a sound financial move.

    Fast forward a year, and the same money market account is now paying 2.4% (thanks to our friends at the Federal Reserve who keep slashing interest rates and printing money to prop up the financial markets and bail out investment banks), but the interest rate on my car loan remains 2.9%.

    So I paid off the loan last month. I gave up a chunk of money earning 2.4% to stop paying interest at 2.9%. The situation changed, and I changed with it. And now, I'm "freerolling" in my car ..... at least theoretically.

    But realistically, I'll need to keep it a few more years to justify the cost.
    .
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    any car I buy will definitely have a stick shift.

    And unfortunately, there is no longer any such thing as a "clean ''88 CRX HF". If there were, I would have snapped it up by now! They all get riced or beaten to death, often both. :-(

    If I had been a day earlier I could have had that '05 Civic HX I saw that was already sold. That would have given me 45 mpg, halfway to my goal, for about $14 grand while being a better driver than my Echo. I bet the lack of rear doors would have become a hassle though, what with having to carry kids in child seats all the time...

    Automakers need to do SO MUCH BETTER than they have been doing so far on fuel economy.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    Sorry to burst your bubble, but you'd NEVER get 45 mpg from a Civic HX. The EPA tests show that you'd average 34 mpg -- 31 city and 39 highway. Just click this link, pick the year, make, and model of vehicle, and you'll see for yourself:

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/sbs.htm

    Particularly interesting to look at the economy cars from the late 1980s and early 1990s. They don't quite match the fond reminescence of owners who frequently claim that they got 50 mpg.
    .
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    Sorry to burst your bubble, but you'd NEVER get 45 mpg from a Civic HX. The EPA tests show that you'd average 34 mpg -- 31 city and 39 highway. Just click this link, pick the year, make, and model of vehicle, and you'll see for yourself:

    Keep in mind though, that the EPA has revised their mileage estimates twice now. From 1978-84 they published their raw laboratory numbers, which were a bit unrealistic. That's why so many cars scored 40+ mpg back in those days, because they were publishing the raw numbers!

    From 1985-2007, they published more realistic, downward-adjusted numbers that better reflected real world conditions. If you drove your car fairly gently, those figures were attainable. However, a lot of leadfoots still weren't making the estimates, so the EPA dumbed those numbers down yet again in 2007. For 2007, both the '85-07 style and the '07+ dumbed-down figures are available. However, for 2008, they only publish the dumbed-down figure.

    That 2005 Civic HX, with a stick shift, was actually rated at 36/44, which is what was published on its window sticker. However, using the new dumbed-down numbers, it's only rated at 31/39.

    Just to show how different these numbers can be, let's look at the 1996 Civic HX 5-speed, which is the most recent year I was able to find the raw numbers.

    In laboratory testing, it scored an impressive 43/58! If you want to compare its economy to a 1978-84 car, this is the number you would use. However, under the 1985 rating system, it was down to 39/45. And by the newest rating system, it's down to 33/41.

    So I have a feeling that if Nippon got ahold of an '05 Civic HX, it wouldn't be too hard to crack 40 mpg with it, maybe even 50 on the highway.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    There's no question in my mind I would have achieved 45 mpg - I have achieved the highway EPA rating as a running average in every car I have ever owned, given my driving pattern which includes lots of suburban and rural highway driving.

    But the two doors would have been less than optimal. When these automakers DO get off their butts I hope they will include 4-doors among the high-mileage models!

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,138
    Throwing around a $10000 figure is false for three reasons..

    I beg to differ on that. One poster here was past the 36k mile warranty and had an $11k bill for the hybrid system in a Prius. I cannot find anything that tells what besides the battery in the CARB states is warranted past 10 years. Maybe you have a list of items that mandated warranty covers.

    Not every one is a brute for punishment to drive a Prius 225,000 miles in 7 years. For me 100k miles in 25 years would be too many miles in that thing. And at our current rate we may break 100k miles after about 21 years in the Lexus. It just passed smog with better than many newer cars emissions. I would sell it but why? It still rides, handles and out accelerates many new cars being sold. There is a lot more to being environmentally sound than getting 48 MPG. Throwing cars away after 7 years is a big environmental problem.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    It's true that people COULD achieve the old EPA numbers. All they have to do is accelerate no quicker than 3 mph per second, never hit any stop-and-go traffic, never exceed 55 mph, and never use the air conditioner.

    These days, those guys are known as hyper-milers. They obsess about exceeding EPA mpg figures, and they do so by a good margin. Some of them post pictures of 60-70 mpg figures on their odometer.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I hit the old EPA numbers in my 2005 HCH lots of times, without over-doing the hyper-miler tactics.

    I once got 56.4 mpg on a run from El Paso to Phoenix on I-10 averaging about 68 MPH for the 447 mile trip.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    I once got 150 mpg driving from the grocery store to my parents' house (downhill).

    Another time, I got 62 mpg driving from Dallas to the Oklahoma border (strong tail wind).

    But my average over 20,000 miles is 47 mpg, barely above the current EPA estimate for the car. And that's only due to tame driving habits, living in a relatively flat area of the country, and an area that doesn't get extremely cold winters.
    .
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    I would say the hypermilers are the ones achieving the old, raw, 1978-84 style numbers. The downward adjusted 1985-2007 numbers are easy to achieve simply be driving more or less "normal". I've had no trouble making these numbers in most of the cars I've had. The 2007+ dumbed down numbers are just there so that any chimp in the zoo can finally make the EPA estimate.

    My 2000 Intrepid is EPA rated at 20/29 with 1985-2007 numbers, and 18/27 with the dumbed-down numbers. And 20/29 is about what I got. A few times I've broken 30 on the highway. Now a couple months ago, it got a low of about 16.7 mpg, but that was purely local driving, done by my relatively leadfooted roommated who was borrowing it at the time, in the winter, and using that less efficient winter blend gas. Oh, and the car was in dire need of a tuneup....had about 90K miles on the spark plugs. Just because they say you can go 100K miles between tuneups doesn't always mean you *should* :P

    The last time I took that car on a long trip was in 2005. We went down to Florida in late May/early June. Mostly highway driving, but speeds averaging 70-80 mph, coupled with some long traffic jams, three people and several hundred pounds of luggage on board, and the a/c on max the whole time. Average mpg was 27.5, and the car had about 105,000 miles on it at the time.

    So even in that situation, which wasn't pure highway, as we drove around a lot locally in Florida, I still managed to break the EPA's dumbed-down estimate.

    Oddly, the car I had that broke the EPA highway number by the widest margin was an old '89 Gran Fury copcar I had. It was rated 13/15, and with the dumbed-down numbers is an appalling 11/14! You can thank the 3-speed automatic with no overdrive, 4-bbl carb, and relatively quick 2.94:1 gearing, plus heavy duty fuel-sucking components for that low number. However, I was able to break into the low 20's on highway runs. My guess here is that because of the quicker axle ratio, it didn't have to downshift as often as the standard civilian 2.26:1 would have. And I guess the 4-bbl can actually be pretty fuel efficient if you keep your foot out of it...which I didn't always do!

    Now, around town, that car was a pig. 11-13, and it required premium fuel.

    As for those hypermiler claims, I don't know how much more intelligent the trip computers are these days, but I had an '88 LeBaron with one. You could actually fake it out into giving you a higher reading if you took your foot off the gas at just the right time. And if you did that often enough, it would make the running average a lot more optimistic. Instead of just dividing how far you drove by how much gas you used, it seemed to just take the average of all the instantaneous readings that it took. The longer you went without resetting it, the more accurate it would get, but it was still possible to trick it.

    Hopefully the electronics are smarter these days. :P
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    "It's true that people COULD achieve the old EPA numbers. All they have to do is accelerate no quicker than 3 mph per second, never hit any stop-and-go traffic, never exceed 55 mph, and never use the air conditioner."

    I don't do any of the things you mentioned, and I ALWAYS hit the EPA highway number. The ONLY thing I do is follow the speed limit. That's usually 65 on the freeways, some 70 out of town, and about 40, sometimes 35, on the local streets here in the burbs.

    But if you're averaging 47 mpg, you must have one of the hybrids, huh? I'm not sure from your tone if you're disappointed with that figure, but considering what's available out there, it's not too shabby.

    Here's the most disappointing aspect of what IS available: using the 2007 numbers rather than the 2008 "chimp" numbers (good one andre! :-)), ask yourself how many models of car were sold that made a city figure of 30 or more. Maybe 5% of all car models sold, and NO trucks/SUVs/crossovers IIRC. That's what is pathetic. That's what I am hoping, despite gagrice's pessimism (;-)) we will see change drastically in the next decade.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

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