Efficient Cars: Feel good when you travel by car!

image courtesy of lunamarina / yaymicro.com

image courtesy of lunamarina / yaymicro.com

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           – Save Energy
           – Avoid Pollution
           – Save Money
           – It’s Affordable
           – It’s Safe
           – Fun
           – Convenient
           – Dependable
           – Alternatives

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Save Energy
. The fuel mileage of new passenger cars more than doubles every 40 years.<1> Today’s energy efficient private vehicle designs include fuel efficient gasoline powered vehicles, hybrids, and all electrics.<2><3>

2013 Kia Sportage 2WD 4 cyl Automatic 25 mpg city/highway combined image courtesy of Only Drive Green

2011 Kia Sportage 2WD 4 cyl Automatic 25 mpg city/highway combined
image courtesy of Only Drive Green

2013 Toyota Tacoma (the 2WD Access Cab Standard Bed I4 Manual 4-cyl version of this truck gets 23 mpg combined city/highway) image courtesy of Riley Toyota-Scion

2013 Toyota Tacoma (the 2WD Access Cab Standard Bed I4 Manual 4-cyl version of this truck gets 23 mpg combined city/highway)
image courtesy of Riley Toyota-Scion

2013 Fiat 500 4 cyl, 1.4 L Manual 5-spd Premium Gasoline 34 mpg combined city/highway image courtesy of Dealer.com

2013 Fiat 500 4 cyl, 1.4 L Manual 5-spd Premium Gasoline 34 mpg combined city/highway
image courtesy of Dealer.com

2013 Mini Cooper 31 mpg combined city/highway image courtesy of BMW

2013 Mini Cooper 31 mpg combined city/highway
image courtesy of BMW

2012 Volkswagen Golf 5 cyl, 2.5 L, Automatic (basic 5 cyl, 2.5 L, Automatic S6 model uses regular gasoline and gets 26 mpg for combined city/highway driving) image courtesy of image courtesy of Navigator84 / CC-BY-SA-3.0

VW Golf GTI 2014 6-speed manual 16.67 km/l (projected combined city/highway 39.21 mpg)
image courtesy of 2013 Auto Show

2012 Volkswagen Golf 5 cyl, 2.5 L, Automatic (basic 5 cyl, 2.5 L, Automatic S6 model uses regular gasoline and gets 26 mpg for combined city/highway driving) image courtesy of image courtesy of Navigator84 / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Volkswagen Golf in Beijing in 2011
image courtesy of Navigator84 / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / commons.wikimedia.org0

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2013 Chevrolet Volt Combined Electric and Hybrid (all electric 38 miles per charge, hybrid 340 miles per fill-up) image courtesy of image courtesy of CARSDIRECT.COM, INC.

2013 Chevrolet Volt Combined Electric and Hybrid (all electric 38 miles per charge; total distance with a full tank of gasoline and a fully charged battery is 380 miles)
image courtesy of CARSDIRECT.COM, INC.

2013 Toyota Prius Hybrid 50 (basic fuel economy of 50 mpg, combined, is the same for plug-in and non-plugin models, with the plug-in-combined estimated at 95 mpg; the plug-in is shown in the picture) image courtesy of NetCarShow.com

2013 Toyota Prius Hybrid (basic hybrid mode fuel economy of 50 mpg, combined, is the same for plug-in and non-plugin models; the plug-in is shown in the picture, with an electric mode distance of about 11 miles per charge before switching to hybrid mode, for an expected total distance of 540 miles from a full charge and full tank)
image courtesy of NetCarShow.com

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Nissan Leaf Electric, 73 miles on a charge image courtesy of Cars Bikes and Trucks

Nissan Leaf Electric, 73 miles on a charge
image courtesy of Cars Bikes and Trucks

2013 Fiat 500e Electric (estimated 87 miles on a single charge; as of May 2013, only available in California) image courtesy of Norbert Aepli,  derivative work Mariordo / CC-BY-SA-3.0

2013 Fiat 500e Electric (estimated 87 miles on a single charge; as of May 2013, only available in California)
image courtesy of Norbert Aepli, derivative work Mariordo / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Tesla Model S (300 miles per charge; pre-production prototype shown in picture) image courtesy of Steve Jurvetson, derivative work Mario R. Duran Ortiz / CC-BY-2.0

Tesla Model S (300 miles per charge; pre-production prototype shown in picture; retail production deliveries began in 2012)
image courtesy of Steve Jurvetson, derivative work Mario R. Duran Ortiz / CC-BY-2.0

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Future models will keep getting better thanks to a wide range of improvements:

Strong but lighter weight parts
More efficient tires
Better drive trains
Better engines
Smoother aerodynamics
Low power accessories
Efficient lighting
Improved traffic management
Energy efficient lifestyles
Improvements in hybrid and electric designs
Batteries that store more energy
Hydrogen fuel cell power
Refueling system changes

If we constructed our autos from lighter weight but strong parts, the oil saved might be equivalent to finding one and a half Saudi Arabias under Detroit. — Amory Lovins <4>


Avoid Pollution
. In the US, CO2 emissions per mile tend to be reducing by about 50% every 40 years.<5><6><7><8><9> New designs seek to be less polluting (less CO2 and other pollutants) over their entire life cycles (including manufacturing and disposal of vehicle and fuel).<10><11><12>

Save Money. “A vehicle that gets 30 MPG will cost you $938 less to fuel each year than one that gets 20 MPG.”<13>

Gasoline vs. Electricity Prices 1990-2012 Used with permission from  > Rocky Mountain Institute

Used with permission from Rocky Mountain Institute


It’s Affordable
. The cost of the vehicle itself can also be affordable. Measured in US dollars, car sharing clubs offer typical rates that range from perhaps $7 to $25 per hour in selected locations<14>. Efficient new gasoline models can typically be rented in the US starting at roughly $30 per day, leased for as little as $200 per month, or purchased at prices starting from around $19,000, including tax, license and fees.<15>

High efficiency used vehicles are also available: for example, 2008 Ford Focus sedans for about $75 per month if loan financed, or $5,500 purchased – and 2004 Toyota Prius hybrids in good condition starting for about $6,100 purchased.<16><17>

It’s Safe. Many energy efficient vehicles are among the safest. Look for safety ratings on new car window stickers or on government websites.<18> New and future models offer designs that can avoid a collision before it happens – and, in the event an accident does occur, can more safely absorb crash energy.<19>

Window Sticker Safety Rating image courtesy of U.S. Department of Transportation

Window Sticker Safety Rating
image courtesy of U.S. Department of Transportation

 

Fun. Whether you’re a gear jamming sport driver or a sit back and relax passenger, there is nothing quite like the fun of a vehicle on the open road. There are a large number of energy efficient vehicles available that offer plenty of performance and comfort.<20>

Convenient. A car can be quick and convenient: leave whenever you want, go precisely where you want to go (at least, where parking is available). If you wish, you can find ways to drive a car without the full responsibility and effort of car ownership: borrow, lease, rent, or (in some locations) become a member of a car club. You might opt for an electric car: then you won’t need to go to the gas station.

Dependable. There are energy efficient yet highly reliable models.<21>

Alternatives. A car is not required. If it fits your lifestyle, you can save energy, avoid pollution and be economical by walking or biking, using public or corporate transit, car pooling, motorcycling, or pursuing still other alternatives.

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<1>The average fuel economy of new passenger cars in the US increased from 13.4 miles per gallon in 1973 to 33.7 miles per gallon in 2010. Energy Consumption, The NEED Project, 2012, http://www.need.org/needpdf/infobook_activities/SecInfo/ConsS.pdf#page=5
<2>In 2012, 16% of the Toyota, Lexus, Scion fleet sold in the US was hybrid. The industry itself is just over 3%. Auto Makers on Fuel Efficiency Jan 30, 2013, http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/310687-2
<3>Electric powered autos can make balanced use of electricity from utility grids. When electric autos are recharged overnight, overall demand for grid electricity is low. Demand for grid electricity tends to be highest during the day when most businesses are operating, people are cooking, and (in summer) air conditioning is drawing electricity.
<4>Amory Lovins: A 40-year plan for energy, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHOyfyGwpes , 9 minutes from start of video
<5>Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2011; Page iv; Adjusted CO2 Emissions Chart; United States Environmental Protection Agency; http://www.epa.gov/otaq/cert/mpg/fetrends/2012/420r12001.pdf#page=8
<6>Electric cars are likely to become a more desirable alternative over time, because more of the electricity needed to charge the electric cars will come from renewable sources that are cheaper as well as less polluting. This is in contrast to the past and present in many locations, where if you charge an all-electric car by plugging into your home utility grid overnight, most of the electricity used will have been generated by coal plants that emitted more CO2 than would have been emitted by gasoline from an efficient gasoline powered vehicle.
http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/#electricity
http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=73&t=11
<7>Future improvements will likely include more use of clean bio fuels that work in existing distribution systems and engines. Bio fuels can be produced from agricultural and waste matter without threatening agricultural food supply. Bio fuels are directly or indirectly made from plants that have recently absorbed atmospheric CO2: thus they can at least partly balance the CO2 emitted when the bio fuels are burned. Bio fuels for autos tend to be primarily ethanol, used directly or as an additive to gasoline. Alternative bio fuels for diesel engines consist of methyl, propyl or ethyl esters.
<8>When consumed as a fuel, hydrogen emits no CO2. When consumed in hydrogen fuel cells, there is no emission of oxides of nitrogen. However use of hydrogen fueled internal combustion engines can emit oxides of nitrogen, even small quantities of which can contribute significantly to global warming. Hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicle, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_internal_combustion_engine_vehicle#Low_emissions
<9>You’ll likely have more opportunities to ride in taxis or other fleet autos powered by natural gas (which consists primarily of methane). Natural gas is generally less polluting than gasoline. Many fleet autos are driven locally and can be refueled at designated natural gas refueling points. There are also autos powered by liquified petroleum gas (primarily propane, butane, or a mix of the two), which tends to be less polluting than gasoline but not as low in pollution as natural gas.
<10>greencar rating, Next Green Car Ltd, http://www.nextgreencar.com/ratings.php
<11>Prius Green Report, Toyota Motor Corporation, http://www.myprius.co.za/pgr_e.pdf
<12>Life Cycle Assessment of EVs Reveals Startling Results, TriplePundit, http://www.triplepundit.com/2011/06/full-life-cycle-assesment-electric-cars-compares-co2-impact-conventional-cars/
<13>Assuming 15,000 miles of driving annually and a fuel cost of $3.75 per gallon, Save Money, U.S. Department of Energy, http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/savemoney.shtml
<14>Examples: I-GO Car Sharing, Chicago area, http://www.igocars.org/locations/ ; City Car Club, UK, http://www.citycarclub.co.uk/
<15>Best Cars, U.S. News Rankings & Reviews, http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks
<16>Instant Used Car Lease and Loan Offers, Automobile Consumer Services, Inc., http://www.leasecompare.com/quick_lease_quotes.php?ModelYear=2008&MakeID=240&ModelID=330&StyleID=120&vehicle=2008+Ford+Focus
<17>eBay, Advanced Search, Completed Listings (you need to sign in to eBay to use the Completed Listings search option preference), 2004 Toyota Prius, eBay Motors, http://motors.shop.ebay.com/Cars-Trucks-/6001/i.html
<18>5-Star Safety Ratings, U.S. Department of Transportation, http://www.safercar.gov/Safety+Ratings
<19>Features include “lane keep” assist, collision avoidance systems, and advanced braking.
<20>2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year: Tesla Model S, MotorTrend Magazine, http://www.motortrend.com/oftheyear/car/1301_2013_motor_trend_car_of_the_year_tesla_model_s/
<21>2007 Toyota Prius, Recalls & Reliability, U.S. News Rankings & Reviews, http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/Toyota_Prius/2007/Reliability/
Categories: Big Changes

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